Diego Simeone praises his players’ ‘cojones’
Champions League final will be the first time a derby has taken centre stage for European football
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone during the Uefa Champions League semi-final second leg match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images
“I want to thank the mothers of these kids, because they were born with balls this big,” Simeone said in his post-match press conference. “The reaction of the team will remain in the memories of people. They were against a powerful team with a long history in the Champions League so I’m very happy.”
Atletico, who had not reached a European Cup final since 1974 before Wednesday, will now take on city rivals Real Madrid in this year’s showpiece in Lisbon on May 24th.
It will be the first time a derby has taken centre stage for European football’s biggest prize but Simeone is not overawed by the prospect.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti congratulated Atletico and suggested the final is too close to call.
“Real Madrid are a powerful club and they are accustomed to these situations, but we arrive with enthusiasm and desire after waiting many years to get to this final,” he added.
“Atletico deserved to reach the final because they were better than Chelsea,” he told Sky Italia. “In Madrid people are happy to have a derby in the final. “There is no favourite. Atletico are doing very well in the league, but anything can happen.”