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Rediff.com  » Sports » Limited time for revelry for La Liga champions Atletico Madrid

Limited time for revelry for La Liga champions Atletico Madrid

May 19, 2014 07:51 IST

Limited time for revelry for La Liga champions Atletico Madrid

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Atletico Madrid have little time to celebrate their stunning La Liga triumph and must immediately turn their focus on Saturday's Champions League final against city rivals Real Madrid.

Atletico sealed their first La Liga title in 18 years thanks to a 1-1 draw at Barcelona on Saturday and now have a chance to win a first continental crown and deny their wealthy neighbours a record-extending 10th.

"Without a doubt today we were able to make history," coach Diego Simeone, who has transformed the club into genuine contenders in Spain and Europe since taking over at the end of 2011, told a news conference.

"But we have to play on Saturday and we have to prepare ourselves for Saturday," added the former Argentina captain, who was in the Atletico team the last time they won La Liga in 1996.

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Image: Atletico Madrid's players pick up their coach Diego Pablo Simeone after the team won the La Liga title
Photographs: REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino

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'It is an honour to be part of this team'

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The European showpiece in Lisbon is the first between two teams from the same city in the 59-year history of Europe's elite club competition.

It will be Real's 13th appearance in the final and the first since they won their ninth crown in 2002, while Atletico have only made the final once before, losing to Bayern Munich in 1974 after a replay.

"It is an honour to be part of this team and be able to compete with the big clubs," captain Gabi told Spanish TV.

"Now of course we will celebrate and then from Monday we will focus on the Champions League."

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Image: Atletico Madrid players celebrate after winning the Spanish first division title
Photographs: REUTERS/Albert Gea

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Atletico came from behind to secure the point

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Saturday's La Liga showdown at the Nou Camp, when Atletico came from behind to secure the point they needed to clinch the title, did not come without a cost, however.

Top scorer Diego Costa and playmaker Arda Turan, key performers this season, were forced off in the first half with hamstring and hip injuries respectively.

The club did not say how long they might be sidelined but local media said Costa was a serious doubt for the Champions League final, while Arda was expected to be able to play.

Brazil-born Costa, who netted 27 goals in La Liga last term and has eight in this season's Champions League, is in the preliminary Spain squad for the World Cup finals and is expected to be included in the holders' final list for the tournament in Brazil starting next month.


Image: Atletico Madrid supporters celebrate winning the La Liga title
Photographs: REUTERS/Javier Barbancho

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