Atlético Madrid look to the present to end Real Madrid jinx of the past

Atlético have lost two Champions League finals and a quarter-final against Real Madrid since 2014 but their captain Gabi believes they can finally beat them

There is a chant that Atlético Madrid fans have launched into a lot in recent years, dug up again as the rivalry with Real Madrid was resuscitated, leaving behind its status as a virtual irrelevance to become arguably the best derby on the planet. “Players, players,” it implores, “we’ve come here to win, let those Vikings know who rules in the capital.” The Vikings are Real, and increasingly the answer was “us” – which is why they sang it of course.

“Over the last four or five years especially, they have made it very difficult for us,” Zinedine Zidane said on Monday. That was quite the understatement. They sang it when Atlético won the Copa del Rey, beating Real at the Bernabéu in 2013; when Atlético won the league the following season; and when they hammered Real 4-0 in the league the season after that. They sang it recently when Antoine Griezmann’s late goal denied Real a derby victory and, Atlético briefly hoped, the title. For the fourth consecutive league season, Diego Simeone’s side left the Bernabéu unbeaten, having won the previous three – something no team had ever done.

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