Watching Real Madrid take on Atletico Madrid at the San Siro yesterday produced a lot of different emotions for me. First and foremost, the fact that this final was the first Champions League fixture that has been played in Milan since the 13/14 season (for our team since the 11/12 season) is frankly kind of embarrassing. Real's win allowed Madrid to overtake Milan as the city with the most European titles; this shows that Milan has been a city of European royalty. A city with a history like this should not spend years outside of Europe's premier competition. I can only hope that watching this game will have motivated both Erick Thohir and Silvio Berlusconi to do whatever it takes to return their respective clubs to the heights that their predecessors reached.
Once the match was over part of me was happy. I was mainly happy for Mateo Kovacic, who became a Champions League winner and in the process made Inter a little extra money. One of the clauses in his transfer provided Inter with an extra €750k for Real making it to the final and another €1.25m for lifting the trophy. Though he played a relatively small role in the team this season seeing his joy in winning a trophy made me happy for him. I hope he goes on to have more success in the future whether at Real Madrid or elsewhere (as long as it isn't at AC Milan).
Alongside that happiness I also felt disappointment. I'll be honest, I really like Atletico. I think Antoine Griezmann is an amazing player, and I feel like they have a strong team and a great manager (who also happens to be a former Inter player). Diego Simeone has done marvelous things with his squad year after year and I had really hoped that this would be their year to win Europe's top trophy. Unfortunately that didn't turn out to be the case and they fell yet again to their arch-rivals in heartbreaking fashion.
While I was saddened that Simeone could not win the Champions League this time around, I am also excited. Simeone has transformed Atletico from a mid-table side to a team that regularly challenges the Barcelona-Real Madrid duopoly in Spain, and has taken his side to two Champions League finals in three years. I am truly looking forward to what he can do if (when) he returns to the San Siro again, this time as manager of Inter.