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Madrid is the capital of soccer these days
Question of the Day
One year after an all-German Champions League final, Atletico’s victory Wednesday means the continent’s top competition will be played for the first time between clubs from the same city. The final is May 24 in Lisbon.
Spanish media hailed the feat Thursday, with sports daily Marca’s headline touting “A Spanish Champion” while El Mundo said “Madrid wins the Champions” League. Even Catalan sports daily El Mundo Deportivo congratulated Atletico by running a “Historical!” headline rather than promoting Barcelona team news.
Nine-time champion Madrid and Atletico have met once before in the competition. In 1959, Real ousted Atletico in the semifinals after winning a replay 2-1 when their two-legged series finished 2-2. Atletico’s only final appearance came in 1974 when it lost to Bayern Munich 4-0 in a replay following a 1-1 draw.
While Madrid beat Atletico en route to this season’s domestic cup trophy, Atletico still enjoyed a breakthrough year against its city neighbor, which is returning to the final for the first time since 2002.
Atletico beat Madrid in the Copa del Rey final last season for its first win over the Spanish giant since 1999. It followed with a league victory at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium followed by a draw at home at the Vicente Calderon.
Atletico’s surprising season comes with a squad whose cost is a fraction of Madrid’s in a league that has been dominated by its neighbor and Barcelona. Valencia was the last club besides the big two to win the championship.
Even the city’s cleanup crews should have an easy time coordinating their work following the victor’s celebrations.
Real traditionally celebrates its triumphs at Plaza de Cibeles. Atletico’s fans gather just down the street at Plaza de Neptuno.
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