Madrid, May 23 (EFE).- Atletico de Madrid on Sunday at the Spanish capital’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium received the La Liga Santander 2020-2021 championship trophy the team secured upon defeating Valladolid 2-1 on the road the day before.
Team captain Jorge Resurreccion “Koke” accepted the Cup from the hands of Royal Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales and raised it overhead, although the stadium was empty of fans, with only soccer authorities and team members’ relatives on hand, although hundreds of fans cheered the team from outside the venue.
Also attending the ceremony was Spanish Culture and Sports Minister Jose Manuel Rodriguez Uribes, Madrid Community President israel Diaz Ayuso and Madrid Mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida.
Atletico striker Luis Suarez confirmed on Sunday after the team received the trophy that he will remain with the team next season, after being La Liga’s top scorer this year with 21 tallies.
When asked if he would be with the team next year, Suarez responded “Yes. Yes. Of course” in an interview with Movistar on the pitch outfitted in his No. 9 jersey Team president Enrique Cerezo acknowledged during the ceremony that the team’s happiness “is not complete” because of the death on Saturday of a 13-year-old fan named Saul in an accident on Madrid’s Plaza de Santa Ana while celebrating the team’s championship.
“May 23 will remain in the memory of all the athletes because we achieved our 11th La Liga title. It was a day filled with emotions, but our happiness is not complete due to the death of a young athlete, a terrible misfortune that tears away from us a member of the ‘rojiblanca’ family. Our hearts are with him and his relatives and friends,” Cerezo said.
The youngster died in the underground parking garage at the Plaza de Santa Ana when he hit a wall while leaning out of the van in which he was riding, waving an Atletico banner.
Koke placed on the statue of Neptune’s fountain a black armband “in memory and out of respect for the young athlete,” for whom the flag at Wanda Metropolitano is flying at half-staff.
Cerezo thanked the team’s fans for their support “both in the good and bad moments” this season, a year that “has not been easy” due to the lack of fans in the stands due to coronavirus gathering restrictions.
“Seeing this stadium without its people breaks one’s heart, but we’re fighting against the pandemic and soon we’ll be able to defeat it,” he said, going on to thank the team’s main stockholder and CEO, Miguel Angel Gil Marin, and calling him a “friend and partner.”
Cerezo went on to say that “over the past eight years, Barcelona has won four championships, Real Madrid two and we two,” adding that it was hard for him to “hide my pride” at being president of “the best club in the world.”
Meanwhile, club striker Joao Felix on Sunday after the presentation of the trophy said that he was “happy” being with the club, adding to Movistar that he will stay on board “to have good seasons and win more titles.”
“I was having a good season, then later some things happened, but I’m here. I’m committed to the club. I’m happy right here and to continue to have good seasons and win more titles,” he said.
The best moment of the season was defeating Valladolid and clinching the title, and the worst moments were when “I suffered the (right ankle) injury and it hindered me a little from continuing to play and doing my best … but I’m left with good memories and with this title,” he said, add that now he will start preparing for the Eurocup to “try and win it.”
Madrid Mayor Martinez-Almeida, in his remarks at the ceremony, acknowledged Atletico’s Argentine coach Diego Simeone, saying: “Diego, winning titles is not so difficult. What’s difficult is changing history around, and you changed the history of this team when you arrived in 2011.”