Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 23rd 2014 Contents A63
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LONDON---Dubbed the most lucrative
match in club football, today s Cham-
pionship playoff final between Queens
Park Rangers and Derby is staying
faithful to its reputation.
The match at Wembley will decide
which club will play in the Premier
League next season, a spot worth at
least 120 million pounds ($202 million)
to Derby and at least 80 million
pounds ($135 million) to Queens Park
Rangers, according to the sports in-
dustry group at consultants Deloitte.
Derby is hoping to return to the
topflight after a six-year absence while
QPR is bidding for an immediate re-
turn to the Premier League. Champi-
onship winner Leicester and
runner-up Burnley have already been
QPR s payday would be lower be-
cause the club is still benefiting from
parachute payments following its rele-
gation last season.
"Over the past decade the value of
promotion to the top flight has in-
creased three-fold," Deloitte consult-
ant Adam Bull said. "This is largely due
to the increase in broadcast income
and greater parachute payments."
QPR and Derby face off for Premier League spot
LISBON---Atletico Madrid s only
previous European Cup final
appearance branded the club with
the nickname that has come to
encapsulate its penchant for mis-
Beating Real Madrid in the Cham-
pions League final tomorrow may
finally put that moniker to rest.
Atletico was on the cusp of win-
ning the European Cup on its first
appearance in the final in 1974, leading
Bayern Munich 1-0 in extra time after
Luis Aragones curled home in the
114th-minute at Heysel Stadium.
The Spanish club was clinging on
until defender Hans-Georg
Schwarzenbeck stepped up to smash
home a powerful right-footed
equaliser from outside the area in the
Without penalties to decide the
champion, a replay was scheduled
just two days later in Brussels. But
having experienced the title slipping
from its grasp in such fashion proved
too much for Atletico, and it lost 4-
0 to a team featuring Franz Becken-
bauer and Gerd Mueller.
Following the defeat, president
Vicente Calderon termed Atletico
"the jinxed ones" or "pupas."
"We practically had the trophy in
our hands," said Atletico goalkeeper
Miguel Reina, father of Spain inter-
national Pepe, reminiscing of what
could have been before Schwarzen-
beck s low shot beat him.
The loss seems to have had a long-
lasting effect on the club.
"Atletico s history may have been
different with that title, which was
the first for Bayern," said former strik-
er Jose Eulogio Garate, who played
in that final 40 years ago.
Atletico s history is filled with suc-
cess and clouded by unnecessary tur-
moil and disorder.
Such is Atletico s knack for dra-
matics that the team hymn includes
the phrase: "What a Way to Suffer."
One of the most famous advertis-
ing campaigns in Spain featured a
young child looking up at his father
to ask "Daddy, why do we support
Atleti?" The father looks off in
thought before the phrase "It s hard
to explain" takes over the screen.
During its Spanish league title win-
ning run this season, Atletico did the
near unthinkable---it did not stumble
or implode as might have been
Instead, coach Diego Simeone s
team showed the verve of a champion
and a knack for coming through when
it counted to secure a fourth major
trophy since 2009/10---following two
Europa League titles and a Copa del
"The club is growing. We re push-
ing forward, building a stronger team,
getting better---despite the economic
differences in this league," said Sime-
one, who has also relied on one of
the top qualities of the 1974 team---
strength on the counter attack.
Atletico won the Intercontinental
Cup after Bayern spurned its invite,
and it has an impressive trophy haul
overall: 10 Spanish league titles, 10
Copa del Reys, one Cup Winners
Cup, two Europa Leagues and two
European Super Cups.
"It s been seven or eight years now
that pupas doesn t follow us any-
more," Atletico president Enrique
Cerezo said after the club secured its
first league title since 1996 last Sat-
urday. "When Calderon labelled the
team that, it certainly was at that
time. Maybe now they should call us
the good luck ones. "
That could be difficult as Atletico
almost seems to embrace the nick-
name at times, like when it celebrated
the 40th anniversary of its lone Euro-
pean Cup final defeat last week.
"Atletico does represent something
different, something special," said
Spanish coach Javier Irureta, who
played against Bayern. "Usually they
only organise homages for champions,
not for the losers.
"But the club is like that."
There will be little love between
neighbours when Real Madrid and
Atletico Madrid play in the Cham-
pions League final tomorrow.
The Spanish teams make up the
first Champions League final between
city rivals in history, with the match
to be played in nearby Lisbon.
Real Madrid is the competition s
most successful club and bidding to
end a 12-year wait for "La Decima"---
its tenth European Cup title. But
Atletico is proving to be quite a spoiler
this season, winning the Spanish
league title over Barcelona last week-
end and now one win away from
completing the greatest season in the
club s 111-year history.
Here are five things to know about
tomorrow s match:
Injury worries: Cristiano Ronaldo
is expected to return from injury to
play. Diego Costa is unlikely.
Advantage, Real Madrid.
Ronaldo has been burdened by leg
injuries over the past two months
but said Tuesday he would be avail-
able to play in his first Champions
League final for Madrid. Costa has
also endured leg setbacks and, after
hobbling off against Barcelona last
Saturday, sought treatment from a
specialist in Belgrade using horse pla-
Ronaldo s return will bolster
Madrid s already potent attack with
Gareth Bale set to start. But striker
Karim Benzeman appears to be
doubtful with a hamstring injury.
Madrid center back Pepe is also a
Alonso s replacement: Xabi Alon-
so s absence deals an important blow
to Madrid s midfield.
The Spain international has been
one of Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti s
most important players this season,
but a yellow card in the semifinal
win over Bayern Munich has left him
Either Sami Khedira, Asier Illar-
ramendi or Casamiro is likely to fill
the void and take responsibility for
opening up Madrid s attack and
breaking up Atletico s buildups.
Villa Experience: Not only will
David Villa s goal-scoring prowess
make up for Diego Costa s absence,
but the Spain striker s experience
should prove invaluable to an Atletico
team short of Champions League
Villa is the only regular in the squad
who has played in a Champions
League final before, scoring in
Barcelona s 3-1 triumph over Man-
chester United at Wembley Stadium
Madrid can count on more expe-
rience as Cristiano Ronaldo won the
title while at Manchester United and
goalkeeper Iker Casillas was part of
Madrid s winning teams in 2000 and
Paisley s Record: Carlo Ancelotti
has been able to get Real Madrid
where Jose Mourinho never could,
and now the Italian coach is one win
away from matching Bob Paisley with
his third European Cup.
Ancelotti, who also won two Euro-
pean Cups as a player, secured the
Champions League at AC Milan in
2003 and 07, leaving him on the
verge of matching the former Liver-
pool manager s record number of
"There s no pressure on me, just
the joy of living this moment of hap-
piness," Ancelotti said. "A lot of
(teams) have to watch this game in
front of the TV and we re lucky to
be able to play it. I ve watched this
game on TV a lot of times and I didn t
Diego Simeone could become just
the third non-European coach to win
the trophy. The only other two were
also Argentine---Real Madrid s Luis
Carniglia in 1958 and 59 and Helenio
Herrera of Inter Milan in 1964 and
Derby time: Today s match rep-
resents the most important Madrid
derby after 194 league and Spanish
Madrid has the advantage with 102
victories to Atletico s 46. Atletico
only ended a 14-year winless run
against Madrid in all competitions
last season when it won the Copa
del Rey at the Santiago Bernabeu
Atletico has won and drawn the
two league encounters since, while
Madrid easily won a pair of Copa del
Rey matches against Atletico en route
to the domestic cup title.
The pair have met in the European
Cup once before---in 1959, when
Madrid needed a replay to emerge
After the two legs finished 2-2,
Madrid won 2-1 in Zaragoza to reach
the final. But in one-game cup finals,
Atletico---which can become the sev-
enth team to finish the competition
undefeated---leads the series 4-1.
Unlucky Atletico tries to break jinx
A Real Madrid supporter poses for a photograph in front of a billboard showing Real Madrid star players, at
Comercio square, in Lisbon, yesterday. Spanish soccer teams Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will play the
Champions League final match today in Lisbon. AP PHOTO
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