Dreams realised & dreams crushed: A tale of two Madrid clubs

Cristiano Ronaldo

On Saturday evening, while one Madrid club was celebrating, the other was left bitterly disappointed after a hugely successful European campaign.

They weren't supposed to be here. They weren't supposed to make it this far.

When the starting lineups for the Champions League final were announced for both teams, there was no mention of Arda Turan. However, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo were available for Real Madrid. As was Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa.

However, he wouldn't make it past the ninth minute. Yet, his teammates soldiered on without him and Los Rojiblancos even took the lead with a Diego Godin header.

But Sergio Ramos restored parity for Madrid deep into injury time, and during extra-time Madrid took over. A Gareth Bale header gave Los Blancos the lead. Atletico finally wilted. A Marcelo strike and a Ronaldo penalty sealed the win for Real.

Madrid was back on top of Europe after a wait of 12 years and a spending spree of almost €1 billion. Since 2002, they have broken transfer records. They have gone through several managers, even president Florentino Perez left for a while.

In the end, though, he would say it was all worth it. The most expensive player in the world, who announced at his presentation in August that he was signed to win the Champions League, had done just that. Gareth Bale had helped Madrid secure their ‘La Decima’.

On the other side of the pitch was a team that had defied the odds all season. Atletico were the least expensive side to be in a final since Jose Mourinho's Porto in 2004. Many of the players probably would not be there next season.

Costa is set to go to Chelsea, perhaps along with Thibaut Courtois. There will also not be a shortage of suitors for the services of Koke and Turan.

The biggest question mark is on their manager's future. Diego Simeone has proved himself to be a charismatic boss with admirers all over the world. How long will it be before he leaves?

How long will it be before this Atletico Madrid side becomes a memory, a footnote in the bigger story of Real Madrid's 10th European Cup success?

How long do Atletico fans have to dream to win the Champions League?

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