Atlético’s last challenge

City’s rival in the Champions League quarter-finals is also pursuing the dream of its first European Cup.

Atlético de Madrid will be City’s rival in the Champions League quarterfinals. The current champion of the League pursues the great challenge, the pending issue, of the European Cup that he recently touched in 2014 and 2016, to complete the perfect cycle of Diego Pablo Simeone.

The Champions League has not treated the rojiblancos with much less affection. Two lost finals in the last eight years against the great rival of the city, Real Madrid, in extra time and on penalties, left a dent in Colchonero’s spirit.

The first one in Lisbon was especially cruel, when after leading the scoreboard for an hour, Sergio Ramos forced extra time with a goal in the 93rd minute. In extra time, the madridistas led by Carlo Ancelotti would settle the final with goals from Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Two years later, in Milan, luck eluded Simeone’s team again. Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid took the initiative with a goal from Sergio Ramos in an advanced position and after Yannick Carrasco’s equalizer the score did not move until a penalty shoot-out was won by the Whites.

But Atlético’s particularly sinister history with European Cup finals is not something contemporary, it dates back to 1974. In their first title game, the Spaniards played for the trophy with Bayern Munich at the Heysel stadium in Brussels and brushed the cup with a goal from Luis Aragonés in the 114th minute. But Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck inscribed his name in Colchonera black history with his shot from a distance to level the game in the last action.

Without extra time or penalties to decide the champion, the playoff match played two days also in Heysel was decided with absolute Munich domination: 0-4.

a decade of ‘cholism’

Simeone governs in the Calderón first and the Wanda Metropolitano now for more than ten years. The Argentine, a former red-and-white player in two stages, took charge of the team on December 23, 2011. Atleti, then managed by Gregorio Manzano, had distanced themselves from the top of the league standings and had just been eliminated in the Cup by a Second B (third Spanish), Albacete.

In ten years, Cholo has led Atlético to two Leagues (2014 and 2021) of the eleven in the club’s history (he won the 1996 as a player), two Europa Leagues, one Copa del Rey, two European Super Cups and a Spanish Super Cup.

A track record that he was able to extend in the two Champions League finals lost to Real Madrid in Lisbon and Milan.

In a season where the Colchoneros have found themselves far from the fight to defend the League title, Diego Pablo Simeone’s team vindicated themselves with a 0-1 victory at Old Trafford to seal their place in the quarterfinals of the Champions League .

The 21/22 Champions League quarterfinals are completed by Chelsea-Real Madrid, Villarreal-Bayern and Benfica-Liverpool.