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Saturday, December 03, 2022

Atletico won’t greet Real Madrid with guard of honor in derby

MADRID ( Associated Press) — The Spanish league’s newly crowned champions shouldn’t expect any special treatment on Sunday with their most-hated rivals.

Atlético Madrid says it will not provide an honor guard, prompting players from one team to applaud their opponents for entering the field before kickoff for league champions Real Madrid for Sunday’s derby at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. Huh.

“We congratulate Real Madrid, its players and its coaching staff because they have done an incredible job,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said in the build-up to the game on Saturday.

“I respect Madrid to be champions, but we have a lot of respect for our fans, who are always with us.”

Madrid won its 35th Spanish league title last weekend, beating Espanyol 4-0 with four rounds to go.

The honor guard is not always practiced in Spanish football. But often after winning a title the first opponent to face a newly crowned champion will pay his respects this way. This is a custom that is not followed in all leagues. Both Simeone, who is Argentinian, and Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti, who is Italian, both said it is not done in their countries.

Ancelotti, always looking at ease, tried to play down Atletico’s decision, which would certainly upset many Madrid fans the wrong way.

“Everyone should do what they like best and we should respect that. We have great respect for Atletico, their players and their coach, ”said Ancelotti. “They are our neighbours, friends. If they do, fine, and if they don’t, that’s fine too. Whatever they want to do, we will respect that.”

With nothing left to play in the league, Madrid are using the match to begin their preparations for the Champions League final against Liverpool on 28 May.

However, Atletico still need to break into the top four to ensure a place in next season’s Champions League.

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