Suarez, Simeone celebrate Atletico title with tears, smiles

Madrid, May 23 (AP): When the final whistle blew, Diego Simeone broke out into a broad smile, laughed and breathed a sigh of relief. A few moments later, Luis Suarez was sitting on the field weeping profusely while on a video call.
After a seven-year wait and a dramatic final round Atletico Madrid had won the Spanish league title. Fans and players later celebrated together outside the stadium in Valladolid, with more supporters rejoicing back in Madrid.
Atletico outlasted second-place Real Madrid after coming from behind to defeat Valladolid 2-1 on Saturday and finish two points ahead of its city rival after almost losing a lead that it had held since the ninth round.
Suarez, who was let go by Barcelona against his wishes last season, scored the winner for Atletico which won its first league title since 2014 in a wild finish that had plenty of twists with the two remaining title contenders playing at the same time.
Madrid couldn’t repeat as champion despite rallying to defeat Villarreal 2-1 at home and giving Atletico a very late scare. A win for Madrid and draw for Atletico would have kept the title with Madrid on the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Suarez’s goal came as redemption in what he called his toughest year. He was key for Atl tico throughout the season after practically being handed to the team by Barcelona.
The Uruguay striker was deeply moved after the match and broke down while apparently talking to his family on the phone.
This has been a hard season for the situation I had to go through, starting the season the way it did, being disrespected (by Barcelona) and having Atl tico open its doors to me, Suaez said. I will always be thankful to this great club for that.”
The results left Atletico top at the end of the 38-round season, giving Simeone’s team its second league title in 25 years. Atl tico’s previous league title before 2014 was in 1996, when Simeone still played for the club.
As players chanted and celebrated on the field, several hundred Atletico fans held their own celebrations outside the Jos Zorrilla Stadium in Valladolid. Some players later joined them on their way to the team bus, sharing hugs and chanting together, many without masks despite the coronavirus. Police had to intervene to keep some of the fans away. The trophy will be presented to the club on Monday.
Atl tico’s 11th league title ended a seven-year dominance by Barcelona and Madrid in Spain. Since 2014, Barcelona had won the league four times and Madrid twice, including last season.

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