Solari: "mixed feelings" about Copa Libertadores final in Madrid

The Real Madrid coach said he was happy to see the game played at the Bernabéu but is saddened by the circumstances that bring it there.

Solari: "mixed feelings" about Copa Libertadores final in Madrid
Rodrigo Jiménez EFE

Real Madrid coach and former River Plate player, Santiago Solari, gave his thoughts on the Copa Libertadores final, which will now be played at the Santiago Bernabéu on Sunday, December 9. The second leg of the final had to be cancelled twice in the past week after the Boca Juniors bus was attacked on Sunday and Wednesday.

The Argentinean coach had mixed feeling about the news – happy due to he fact that the Santiago Bernabéu is being recognized as global football institution with the hosting of the final, but also saddened by the poor image of Argentinean football that has been generated around the world following the violent incidents in Buenos Aires.

"I have mixed feelings. It is an honour for Real Madrid, for our stadium, to host the Libertadores final, the Argentine Clásico, between the two biggest clubs in Argentina. Hopefully a stadium with this history will help give a good ending to this difficult situation,” said Solari.

“On the one hand it is an honour. But I can’t stop thinking about the causes that bring it here, that you have to play an ocean away from Buenos Aires. There are many broken hearts. It's a shame, especially as an example for children… that there is a very small part of our society destined to break everything, it is a pity.”

Much of the concern in Madrid surrounds the possibility of a repeat of the violent scenes in Buenos Aires, which left some of the Boca Juniors hospitalized after windows on the team bus were smashed by River fans hurling projectiles. But Solari is optimistic that will not happen in the Spanish capital.

“There [in Buenos Aires] it was not up to par, but I hope the history of the stadium helps to clean up the reputation of this final, which is difficult with all that has already happened. But if anything can, it is this institution.”

The game has some significance to Real Madrid, as the winner will represent Conmebol at the FIFA Club World Cup and will likely meet Los Blancos in the final. But Solari said he has now lost some interest in the fixture.

“Unfortunately, for me this game has lost significance. It has lost a little interest. It's a shame, but that's the reality. I hope the final at the Bernabéu will clean up everything that happened and give it a decent ending.”