The Spanish press was in raptures when it was confirmed on Wednesday that the capital’s two biggest clubs, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, would be squaring off in the UEFA Champions League final in Lisbon on May 24. Atletico booked its place alongside Real after beating Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea 3-1 at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, following a 0-0 draw at the Vicente Calderon last week.
“From Madrid to Heaven” was the headline on the cover of AS which added “Atletico wipe out Chelsea in a second half for the ages,” as its caption. In its match report, the Spanish sports daily described coach Diego Simeone as “this man who could ask the Atleticos to jump off a bridge, and they would do while thinking him, giving him a kiss, and the keys to their houses.”
Marca, meanwhile, noted that Atletico has now buried four former European champions -- FC Porto, AC Milan, Barcelona and now, Chelsea -- en route to the final. The paper also noted that regardless of what happens, “Lisbon will crown one of ours on May 24.” Another piece dubbed Chelsea coach Mourinho as “The Semifinal One,” pointing out that the self-styled ‘Special One’ has now fallen at this stage of the UCL in four successive years.
Lastly, El Pais praised Atletico’s bravery for not sitting back in the second half after its equalizer just before halftime. “After the equalizer, Chelsea did not emerge more ambitious after the break; instead it was an imperial and choral Atletico,” said its match report. “Koke let loose, Filipe [Luis] too. Mario [Suarez] began to play with authority, Arda [Turan] imposed his art, and the movement of Diego Costa and Adrian ripped apart the Blues’ defense.”