Atlético Madrid and local rival Real Madrid both made history on Saturday simply by stepping onto the same pitch.
It was not the first time that rivals from the same country faced each other.
However, the Champions League final in Lisbon, Portugal marked the first a derby involving rivals from the same city had been played at this final stage…and what a final stage it was!
Atlético fans were eager to see hero Diego Costa on the field.
After all, many considered him the key to a victory over the Real team. Unfortunately the star forward simply was NOT ready to be back in the game.
Costa was forced to be substituted after only ten minutes. He was replaced by Adrián.
HT in the @ChampionsLeague final: Real Madrid 0-1 Atletico Madrid.Listen live at @bbc5live and http://t.co/mrhWW8t3Mf pic.twitter.com/QXnRIlDQjl
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) May 24, 2014
Despite losing Costa, Atlético Madrid seemed determined to show their fighting spirit. It was Atlético that opened up the scoring.
At 35 minutes into the game, it would be Diego Godin with a simple header. A mistake by Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who just wasn’t fast enough to keep the ball from getting over the line, would make it 1-0.
Halftime in Lisbon. Diego Godín's 36th minute goal is the only score as Atlético Madrid leads Real Madrid, 1-0. pic.twitter.com/W03sgUQza5
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 24, 2014
Godin, his teammates, and all Atlético fans celebrated. They had no way of knowing that this would be their only goal of the night.
They did know that they were absolutely ROBBED of their first CL title by an absolutely last minute goal.
The second half had faded into the last few seconds with the score still 1-0.
Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos came through with a stunning header. He managed to get higher than anyone else and wasn’t covered. Just like that, it was 1-1 and a shocked Atlético Madrid went from celebrating their first title to facing the reality that they would be headed into extra time.
Real Madrid was gifted an extra half hour to make up for a dismal full-time display. They went to work on their rivals in an almost cruel fashion in the final fifteen minutes of that extra time.
At the 112th minute, Gareth Bale scored the third header of the evening. This one would make the scoreline 2-1 in favor of Real Madrid.
GOAAAAAAAL!!!! GOAL GOAL GOAL!!!!! BALE!!! BALE!! GARETH BALE!!!! 2-1!!!! #APorLaDécima #UCLFinal #RMLive pic.twitter.com/cYTQ7MZiSN
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) May 24, 2014
Eight minutes later it was Marcelo Vieira, whose goal virtually assured that with a 3-1 scoreline, Real Madrid had at last clinched “La Decima”.
Real was destined to become ten-time Champions League winners while everything Atlético had fought for had at the same time crumbled to dust.
Marcelo: It took Real Madrid too long to win La Decima http://t.co/er3jrfm6lz #rmcf pic.twitter.com/hwOGgoPvTB
— Goal UK (@GoalUK) May 25, 2014
Insult was added to injury with a late penalty call. Cristiano Ronaldo made it onto the sheet as the game ended 4-1. He is the first player to ever score for and win the Champions League title with two different teams (he’d been here before with Manchester United).
Cristiano Ronaldo is the first player to score in 2 Champions League finals for different teams. pic.twitter.com/SbyEFWpF5q
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 24, 2014
It was a night of dreams for Real Madrid, but it was a nightmare for Atlético Madrid. They may have won the La Liga title, but it seemed with this victory that the universe might be “correcting itself”. Will Atlético Madrid dare to challenge for Champions League and La Liga glory next season?
Hopefully Atlético Madrid will rise above this disappointment and remember how well they’ve done and how well they’re capable of doing. As little comfort as the statement is, it is the truth: There’s always next year.
If Real Madrid can swallow 12 years of disappointments and finally rise to the occasion, Atlético Madrid needs to believe it too can do the same.
Image via Real Madrid, Instagram