The Undécima: history in the making
I'm writing these words from inside the San Siro. The Sanctuary of the Undécima. Standing in front of me are Gento, Raúl, Amancio, Mijatovic and Roberto Carlos, five men who have won 14 European Cups between them. That's fourteen more than Atlético Madrid. I know Simeone has moulded the Mattress Makers into a solid unit and that beating them can be as excruciating a task as pulling teeth out without anestetic. But something tells me the shadow of Lisbon still looms large. As kick-off approaches Atleti fans will begin to question whether their players are capable of standing tall in the face of real pressure or if they'll shrink into their shells when the going gets tough.
Yesterday as I was boarding my flight to Milan I met a young man of 21 years of age named Arturo who showed me a deep gash across his chest, an injury he sustained as a result of a moped accident during the week. He begged his doctor to let him to fly to the final, and as there was no damage to his internal organs the medical practitioner reluctantly gave his blessing. Arturo is happy to take the risk. At his young age he's eager to watch the greatest club in the world add to its already rich history. Los Blancos collected eight European Cup titles in the twentieth century and are on the brink of completing a hat-trick of Champions League trophies since the turn of the millenium. Anyone who continues to talk ill of this team is out of their mind. Legends are created through deeds and Madrid will add to their legacy tonight against Cholo's troops.
All I ask from the fans is that they conduct themselves as they did in Lisbon. The whole world applauded the manner with which both sets of supporters carried themselves in the Portuguese capital. This is football. This is something to celebrate. Get the champagne ready madridistas! Hala Madrid!
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