There is waiting room full of men in their early to mid-50s. All are waiting for their chance in a job interview. Suddenly a young man walks in and starts to play with his laptop and one by one the older men file out of the room. The protagonist stands up, suddenly an Atletico key chain is seen and he adjusts his trousers and sits back down. El Atleti te hace más fuerte, Atleti makes you stronger, appears on the screen. On Friday, the fans will be hoping that the statement is true as the club prepare to beat Real Madrid at the 26th time of asking.
The advertisement was made to coincide with the club’s 110th anniversary. Atleti adverts are famous for their ability to mock themselves but now nobody is laughing. The strain of constantly having to suffer insults and jokes from Real Madrid fans has started to show. The Copa del Rey offers the perfect opportunity to banish the curse and it has put a lot of pressure on the Atletico players. It is for that reason the club are slightly playing down the tie, whilst also trying to present a positive front.
“We have another chance in May, then another two next season and then another two after that. They aren’t going anywhere and neither are we,” said Diego Simeone when asked if the club had failed to make the most of a golden opportunity in the Vicente Calderon a few weeks ago.
In front of journalists, Simeone played down the importance of the tie by claiming it was like a normal game, but he has never beaten Real Madrid as a Rojiblanco player or Coach and that eats away at him. Now he has a another shot to finally get the coveted win but again he is playing down the significance of the tie. On Wednesday the club held a Press event where players walked around and spoke to the various outlets.
“Simeone doesn't remind us that we haven't won in a few years. This is a final,” said young Canterano Koke. The midfielder has enjoyed a great year under Simeone and has provided 11 assists so far and will be a key player on Friday. Another player, Radamel Falcao, has seen his future once again make the headlines in the rumours section but his teammates were keen to stress his importance. Diego Costa, Cebolla Rodriguez, Adrian, Thibaut Courtois and Miranda all spoke about how the team was focused on the tie and not thinking about the 25-game winless streak.
Afterwards, all the squad made their way to Los Angeles de San Rafael. The club always go to Segovia for pre-season. Simeone wants to keep the group together, away from the Press and also to build team spirit. Many different techniques have been tried by the club to try and get them over this mental block when it comes to Los Vikingos, but this is the first time that they have gone to Segovia. Will it work? At around 12 midnight on Friday we will know.