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Madrid press pays homage to Champions League capital


Madrid (AFP) – Madrid’s sports papers hailed their city’s dominant football teams the day after Real Madrid set up a second Champions League final in the three years against Atletico Madrid on Thursday.

Real edged a thrilling final in 2014 for their 10th European Cup in Lisbon as Sergio Ramos’s injury-time header denied Atletico their first European Cup by sending the game to extra-time before Los Blancos ran out 4-1 winners.

“Madrid, capital of the Champions League,” said sports daily Marca in their digital edition.

“The second part of what was lived in Lisbon, will be celebrated in Milan.

“Real Madrid and Atletico will go face-to-face once more in the San Siro with the memory of Sergio Ramos’s goal.”

Rival sports daily AS splashed “Long live Madrid” across its front page.

“Until 2014 in Lisbon no Champions League final had seen two teams from the same city face off,” said AS editor Alfredo Relano.

“Madrid has improved its record, duplicating its success in case another city – Milan, Manchester or London – tries to equal it.”

There was praise for Real coach and former legendary player Zinedine Zidane, who has led his side to the final after just four months in the job since replacing the sacked Rafael Benitez.

Zidane can now win the Champions League in a third different role at Madrid having scored a stunning winning goal in the 2002 final and been coach Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant two years ago.

“The miracle of Zidane,” said the online version of El Pais.

“The French coach took on a moribund team in January, but has captivated the players and fans to qualify for the Champions League final.”

There was also some mischief from the Barcelona-based press, forced to watch on as their two great La Liga rivals prepare for another final.

Just as two years ago, Atletico dumped Barca out at the quarter-final stage.

However, despite repeated criticism of Atletico’s rough and defensive style, Barcelona daily Sport showed which side they are on with a front cover carrying a picture of Atletico coach Diego “El Cholo” Simeone celebrating his side’s semi-final win over Bayern Munich.

“Cholo fans, but only for a day,” ran the headline.

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