Simeone rabble-rouses Los Rojiblancos
For the first time last week’s first leg truly showed the gulf that still exists between the sides in terms of resources.
Real’s financial muscle even threatens to break up this Atletico side.
Theo Hernandez looks set to become the first player to cross the Madrid divide since 2000 this summer. A move for the 19-yearold is seen as Real’s first step to breaking a gentleman’s agreement not to poach Atletico’s best players ahead of a bid to snatch their top scorer Antoine Griezmann in 2018.
“Tell me how does it feel,” said a huge banner released from the Real fans before kick-off at the Bernabeu last Tuesday alongside signs for Lisbon and Milan, the two cities where Atletico lost to Real in the final in the past three years.
And yet as the stadium emptied nearly two hours later, it was the Atletico fans, beaten but unbowed, who sang the club’s anthem into the night.
That scene was repeated as the Atletico fans stayed behind after Saturday’s 1-0 win over Eibar, demanding the team return to the pitch from the dressing room to serenade them with chants of “proud of our players.”
That loyalty in the face of adversity is in contrast to the demands put upon Real players.
Even after scoring hat-tricks against Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals and Atletico last week, Real’s all-time top goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo said “all he wanted” from the home fans was not to be jeered.
“Know how to win, know how to lose, #theycannotunderstand” Atletico posted pointedly on the club’s Twitter feed on Sunday.
“Don’t stop believing,” has also been a consistent emblem of Simeone’s time in charge of Atletico. And the Argentine has been relentlessly positive over