Atletico Madrid players are said to be against the idea of giving Real Madrid a guard of honour when the latter visit Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Sunday for matchday 35.
With the 35th La Liga title already in pocket, Real Madrid make a trip across town with absolutely nothing to lose. For Atletico, however, this match will more or less decide whether or not they will finish within the Champions League spots this season.
With 61 points after 34 matches, Diego Simeone’s men sit just four points above fifth-placed Real Betis who have a game in hand. This means a defeat on Sunday will give Betis a perfect opportunity to cut down the deficit.
As for Real, since their title of being the champions was decided in the previous matchweek, Atletico, as it’s been done in football, are supposed to give them the guard of honour since they are the next opponent.
This is something that is not really a written rule but is done out of respect.
However, it is no secret that there is no love lost between the two. Hence, presenting a guard of honour would essentially mean the clash of two gigantic egos. Atletico have several reasons not to follow the tradition, and even the players are personally against the idea.
“Corridor [guard of honour] to Madrid? We congratulate them, but we respect our fans a lot,” defender Josema Gimenez was quoted as saying by MARCA.
Furthermore, the club’s vice-captain, Jan Oblak, delivered similar thoughts, but he did mention that while he is personally against it, the decision rests at hands of the club.
“As captain, I am one of those who does not like to give or receive the guard of honour, but the club will decide and we will do what is necessary,” said the keeper.
The players will follow what the club will decide, although those sitting in the offices are well aware of the fact that making such a gesture will certain did not bid well with the fans. All this because the Champions League spot will be essentially at stake on Sunday.
On the other hand, Atletico certain remember how Real behaved in 2018 when it was their chance to honour Barcelona a game after the latter had won the league.
Speaking about it, Real’s then manager, Zinedine Zidane, clearly denied doing anything such.
“I don’t understand the hallway and then it’s not going to be done,” he said.
Ancelotti talks Courtois, Militao, Bellingham, VAR controversies ahead of Las Palmas vs Real Madrid
Coming off a highly controversial game against Almeria, Real Madrid will now travel to Gran Canaria to take on Las Palmas tomorrow as part of the early kick-off.
Carlo Ancelotti spoke about the clash tomorrow, starting off by confirming his goalkeeper for tomorrow, “Lunin will start tomorrow.”
He also added that Madrid were looking to get back to their usual level after back-to-back poor performances, one of which included elimination against Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey round of 16.
“We are motivated to return to our best level after 2 bad games.”
The Italian gaffer also commented on the biggest football story in the world today, which was Jurgen Klopp announcing his decision to leave Liverpool at the end of the season.
“It’s quite surprising, I understand. Working for a long time with the same club and players lowers your motivation a bit. He’s doing a fantastic job at Liverpool.”
And of course, Ancelotti also spoke about the leaked VAR audiovisual, some of which are highly controversial for all parties involved. Barcelona coach and players have also commented on the same, in light of the Negreira case.
“They have talked a lot. Everyone knows what has happened in the last 20 years in Spanish football. The Civil Guard is carrying out an investigations. That is the real problem of Spanish football.”
Luckily for the manager and fans, all injured players — minus the ACL trio of David Alaba, Eder Militao, and Thibaut Courtois — are available. Jude Bellingham is suspended, however.
“Everyone is available now after the recent period of injuries.”
“Making up for Bellingham’s absence tomorrow? Brahim and Joselu are available options. They were able to show themselves after I relied on them as substitutes,” he added.
And as far as Militao and Courtois are concerned, both of whom tore their ACL early in the season, Ancelotti suggested that they could make their return before the season ends.
“Courtois and Militão both have the option to play this season. The recovery process is going very well, they are training on an individual level. It is February and these types of injuries last 6-8 months, so I think they will recover before the end of the season.”
Source: Mundo Deportivo