‘Atletico much stronger than 2014’

Atletico Madrid President Enrique Cerezo believes the team is in better shape for this year’s Champions League Final than the one two years ago.

Real Madrid were the opposition in Lisbon and will be so again in Milan, Cerezo telling an interview with Marca, however, that the issue isn’t one of revenge.

“Every era has its game. There are no rematches, you have to play the game. We’re playing two finals in three years. That’s very difficult to do. We’re doing something important for Atletico and for football in general. We have a great team and a magnificent Coach,” Cerezo said.

“I see Atletico much stronger, prepared and psyched. That, plus their friendship and unity, will produce a beautiful sporting moment. A lot of people waited 42 years for us to eliminate Bayern Munich [conquerors of Atletico in the 1972 European Cup Final] and no one took it as revenge, but as a new thing, a reason more than one European Cup could have been ours and that could have changed the history of the club. This is a different game, life goes on.

“If you’re not optimistic you can’t go. It’s very complicated, because in 90 minutes you need good luck and to play a good game. I wouldn’t change the opponent. The die is cast, they have 10 European Cups, the most, but it’s an incentive for us. In football there is no fear, no respect.”

Cerezo however denied that Atletico’s success or otherwise in Milan, the game being played on the 13th anniversary of his appointment as President, will have an impact on the club’s planning for the summer and goals for next season, and wouldn’t be drawn on a return for Diego Costa.

“He’s a great player at a great team and I don’t think Chelsea would let him go,” he noted of the former Atletico striker.

“This isn’t the same situation as seven years ago. Now it’s not that players don’t want to come, they don’t want to leave. Fernando Torres? He’s a magnificent player and Atletico to the death, so we are talking about him staying.

“Next year the aim will be as it always is, to be among the top three, to play a big role in the Copa del Rey, and get where we can in the Champions League, for the fourth consecutive year.”

Tags Enrique Cerezo