x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Aguirre thanks fan fare

Javier Aguirre thanked the Atletico Madrid supporters who cheered his side into the last 16 of the Champions League from outside the Vicente Calderon stadium.

Atletico and PSV line up at an empty Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid on Wednesday.
Atletico and PSV line up at an empty Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid on Wednesday.

MADRID // Javier Aguirre thanked the Atletico Madrid supporters who cheered his side into the last 16 of the Champions League from outside the Vicente Calderon stadium. No fans were allowed inside the ground due to a Uefa ban following crowd incidents during the home match against Marseille on Oct 1, but that did not stop a sizeable group of supporters from braving the bitterly cold conditions to congregate on the street.

The fans gathered outside one of the open corners of the ground and, although they could not see the pitch, they provided a constant stream of songs and chants to cheer their team on against PSV Eindhoven. Atletico coach Aguirre, whose side won the match 2-1, thanks to goals from Simao and Maxi Rodriguez, to progress through to the knockout stages, said: "We felt a lot of emotion. The fact that they have gone into the streets to cheer us on, despite the cold and not being able to see the match, is something to thank them for.

"The team felt that special feeling from those supporters. The players make up the show, but the fans are a fundamental part. They are an indispensable part of the show." Atletico striker Sergio Aguero added: "We heard them from inside. It has been a very strange sensation to play in an empty stadium, but we heard our fans cheering us on and we appreciated it. We reached the goal that we set for ourselves and we want to dedicate it to our followers."

Atletico are playing in the Champions League for the first time in more than a decade. Aguirre added: "This is one of the best clubs in the world and they deserve to be in this position every year." sports@thenational.ae