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Papers condole Atletico for cruel fate

TIAGO-TEARSMADRID, May 25 – Spain’s press Sunday hailed Real Madrid’s 10th European title but highlighted the cruel fate dealt to Atletico Madrid, whose lead was snatched away in a painful reminder of their last such final 40 years ago.

“The cruellest final, again, for Atletico Madrid,” ran a headline in the top-selling Marca sports daily.

“Atletico Madrid again suffered the cruelty of football in a continental final.”

After leading 1-0 for nearly an hour, Atletico let Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos equalise in injury time in the 93rd minute, sending the Champions League final in Lisbon into extra time.

Over the next 30 minutes, Real tore apart a physically exhausted Atletico, scoring another three goals to leave the final tally at 4-1.

Pro-Real daily Marca splashed a giant photo of Ramos roaring in triumph above the headline “La Decima!” — Real fans’ term for the longed-for 10th title — for which it thanked his “providential header”.

The result echoed the last time Atletico reached the European finals in 1974 when Bayern Munich’s Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck equalised 1-1 in the 119th minute. Two days later they played a deciding game, which Bayern won 4-0.

“Forty years later, Atletico Madrid loses a European cup final, again. Forty years later, they do it following a very similar script to that of 1974 when a goal by Schwarzenbeck forced a deciding game in which Bayern had no opposition,” said an article in Barcelona-based daily Mundo Deportivo.

“What a way to go!” for Atletico, read a headline in the paper, under pictures of dejected Atletico players and jubilant Real fans.

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Spain’s leading daily, El Pais, delivered a similar verdict.

“The European cup was historically important as it crowned Real Madrid for the 10th time, its king of kings, and condemned Atletico in as cruel a fashion as it did four decades ago,” the paper said.

“This time it was not a tall German who would frustrate Atletico but Sergio Ramos, who is a Real Madrid player in his genes.”

Major sports daily AS said Ramos’s goal helped to make up for an error by Real’s goalkeeper captain Iker Casillas, who was criticised for letting in Atletico defender Diego Godin’s header in the 36th minute.

“The Decima has to be special and it was. It could not just be another Cup, a win like others, or a similar happiness,” said AS sports writer Juanma Trueba.

“The heroism, concentrated in the unbreakable faith of a team in the last minutes of standard play, was an infinite cruelty seen from the perspective of Atletico de Madrid,” he added.

“Atletico were champions for 56 minutes, almost an hour, to which you have to add the six minutes they were champions 40 years ago. It happened the same way as it did then. When they thought they were victors, when everyone did, except Real Madrid.”

The final made the lead story on the front pages of top general newspapers El Pais and El Mundo, which each ran photographs of the Real Madrid players roaring as a wild-eyed Casilla lifted the cup.

“Heroes in Lisbon,” ran El Mundo’s headline.

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“Real Madrid’s legend grows,” said El Pais.

A picture of the jubilant Real squad even made the cover of staunchly pro-Barcelona daily Sport.

“La Decima came like a miracle,” it said.

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