- Title: SPAIN: FOOTBALL/SOCCER - Victorious Atletico greet fans from open-topped bus
- Date: 11th May 2012
- Summary: MADRID, SPAIN (MAY 10, 2012) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF ATLETICO MADRID FANS WAITINIG OUTSIDE VICENTE CALDERON STADIUM
- Embargoed: 26th May 2012 13:00
- Location: Spain
- Country: Spain
- Topics: Sports
- Reuters ID: LVAB56F6QLFYMD82VF664TBMYDX7
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Victorious players from Atletico Madrid set off from their Vicente Calderon stadium on Thursday (May 10) on an open-topped bus to greet euphoric fans after winning the Europa League for the second time in three seasons.
Colombian striker Radamel Falcao and coach Diego Simeone's tactical nous helped Atletico Madrid claim a second Europa League title on Wednesday (May 09) with a commanding 3-0 win over fellow Spaniards Athletic Bilbao in Bucharest.
Red and white-clad fans waited to greet players setting off from the Vicente Calderon stadium. The bus was bound for the Neptuno fountain, near the Prado art museum in the Spanish capital, where Atletico's faithful fans traditionally gather to celebrate wins.
Thousands of ecstatic supporters already poured out onto the streets on Wednesday after the final victory.
Â¨Why did I come, because I am an Atletico Madrid supporter member. We are the best, not Real (Madrid) or Barcelona or no one. We are the best,Â¨ Placido an Atletico supporter said.
Atletico Madrid's fans are famous for standing by their team in the bad times as well as the good. Until 2010, when Atletico won the Europa League, it had not won a major European trophy in 38 years.
Â¨We have to come here. We cannot fail. We have to be in good times and bad times and today is a good time, we have to celebrate. This is the best, Atleti is the best.Â¨ Fans greeted the team chanting "Atleti! Atleti!" and waving their red and white scarves.
Colombian striker Falcao struck two superb goals, having also hit the winner for Porto in the 2011 final before a big-money move to Spain, and Brazilian Diego snapped up a late third as Simeone triumphed over fellow Argentine Marcelo Bielsa.
Falcao, top scorer in the competition for a second straight season, netted a first-half double to put Atletico in control before Diego, who was suspended for the 2009 final when with Werder Bremen, sealed an emphatic win five minutes from time.
It was a fitting reward for Simeone who has revitalised 2010 Europa League winners Atletico since taking over in late December at the Calderon, where he became a fan favourite as a player in winning a league and cup double in 1996.
The 42-year-old former Argentina captain also lifted the UEFA Cup as a player with Inter Milan in 1998.
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