Madrid celebrates Champions League final success

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 1, 2014 at 11:35 am •  Published: May 1, 2014
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MADRID (AP) — Madrid is celebrating the success of its two major football clubs after Atletico Madrid ensured a historic Champions League final derby against crosstown rival Real Madrid.

Atletico's 3-1 victory at Chelsea saw it progress to its first European Cup final in 40 years, where record champion Madrid awaits after crushing titleholder Bayern Munich 5-0 over two legs.

Atletico is on the verge of an historic double as it closes in on its first Spanish league title in 18 years, while Madrid is chasing a treble after winning the Copa del Rey against Barcelona.

The feat is all the more impressive for Atletico, which under coach Diego Simeone has completely turned from a club with a history for underachieving and late collapses into a European heavyweight.

"Atletico is a real team," Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said after Wednesday's defeat. "It knows how to be strong in defense and when to come out and attack. It's a great team."

One year after an all-German Champions League final, the continent's top competition has its first ever final between clubs from the same city.

"I'm happy that it's an all-Spanish final," Atletico playmaker Koke said of the May 24 date in Lisbon. "It's going to be a special day, a very nice day because all of Madrid will be in Lisbon."

The final will also highlight the teams' different philosophies and history.

Atletico's blue-collar base is far removed from Real's home in the northwest Chamartin area with its leafy avenues, luxury homes, and expensive cars.

Madrid is the record 32-time Spanish champion with nine European Cups, and record revenues that are nearly five times that of Atletico allow it to pay for Ballon d'Or recipient Cristiano Ronaldo and world-record 100 million euros signing Gareth Bale.

Atletico's payroll is a fraction of Madrid's or Barcelona's, and it is a club with a history of dubious finances.

Yet Simeone, who was on the team that won the league-cup double in 1996, has nurtured a winning culture from a squad that has changed little since his arrival more than two years ago, and despite the sale of star striker Radamel Falcao in the offseason.