Atlético Madrid reach European finals every two seasons
The rojiblancos have made a habit of reaching European finals on even-numbered years, winning the 2010 and 2012 Europa League titles before losing out to Real Madrid in Lisbon.
Antoine Griezmann’s second half finish at the Allianz Arena gave Atlético Madrid the away goal they needed to book their place to the Champions League final. The rojiblancos have now reached four European finals in the space of seven seasons, at a rate of one every two years: 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016.
Up until very recently the club had been dogged with financial difficulties which forced the squad to regenerate each summer as the star players were lost to the market in an effort tot keep the books balanced. To beat Fulham in the 2010 Europa League decider in Hamburg, Quique Sánchez Flores lined up with Kun Agüero and Diego Forlan up front; Simeone added another Europa League title to the trophy room in 2012 with Radamel Falcao leading the forward line against Athletic Club, with Adrián, Diego and Arda Turan playing second fiddles to the Colombian marksman; David Villa and Diego Costa were the gunslingers selected to face Real Madrid two years ago in Lisbon, with the latter needing to come off in the ninth minute with cramp. Griezmann and Fernando Torres are expect to get the nod in Milan.
Atlético were crowned Europa League champions in 2010 thanks to Forlán’s extra-time brace against Fulham (2-1). Flores, the now Watford manager, lined up with De Gea, Ujfalusi, Perea, Domínguez, Antonio López, Paulo Assunçao, Raúl García, Reyes, Simao, Forlán and Agüero. The Madrid-born coach made three substitutions on the night: Jurado, Savio and Juan Valera.
The Mattress Makers scooped the title again in Bucharest two years later with a resounding 3-0 win over Marcelo Biesla’s Bilbao Lions. Falcao was the star of the show in the Romanian capital on a night in which Atlético started without a single surviving member from the 2010-winning side on the pitch. Cholo’s teamsheet read: Courtois, Juanfran, Miranda, Godín, Filipe, Mario Suárez, Gabi, Arda, Diego, Adrián and Falcao. Coming off the bench were Salvio, Koke and Domínguez. A 17-year-old Saúl made his first team debut earlier that season against Besiktas, getting a six minute run out against the Turkish outfit.
The second European Cup final in the club from the banks of the Manzanares’ history took place in Lisbon and ended in the most heart-breaking manner imaginable as Real Madrid came back from behind to wrestle the coveted prize away their cross-city rivals (4-1). Simeone lined up with Courtois, Juanfran, Miranda, Godín, Filipe, Tiago, Gabi,Koke, Raúl García, Villa and Diego Costa. Adrián came on for Diego Costa in the ninth minute, Sosa (66) and Alderweireld (83).
Atlético have sealed their passage to this season’s final at San Siro by dumping the Dutch, Spanish and German champions out of the competition. Jan Oblak, Juanfran, Giménez, Godín, Filipe, Augusto, Gabi, Saúl, Koke, Griezmann and Fernando Torres were the eleven chosen to take on Bayern in the second leg and, given that Simeone selected the same men to start against Real Madrid at the Bernabéu (0-1), it’s widely believed the Argentine will stick with the same line-up in Milan.