For one side, it's been 12 years since they got to the Champions League (European Cup) final. For the other, it's been almost four decades. The team in white has won nine cups. The other doesn't even have one. Real Madrid has 32 Ligas. Atlético de Madrid have 10.
Naturally, which team is the underdog here? And yes, we know how much people love the underdog.
It's been said time and time again over the last couple weeks why it would be nice to see Atlético win on Saturday. How it would benefit the world of football. How the poor little team is living a Cinderella story. How it's good to have a team defying the tyrants that have already won nine European Cups. How you should all root for this feel-good story. How it is so awesome to have a team of "cast-offs" winning La Liga against two juggernauts like Real Madrid and Barcelona (Tata Martino's Barça, but still). Basically, how it would be so amazing to see Los Merengues lose.
Well, it's all a load of crap.
Yes, Atlético deserves a lot of credit for what they are doing. It's been remarkable. They were great in games that demanded greatness and they did what they had to do.
Their roster is inferior to Madrid and Barcelona's, no question. But a team full of nobodies? Of poor guys that might have learned to play just a couple months ago like it belongs to a Disney movie? Hell no.
We're talking about a team that has one of the best, if not the best GK in the world this year in Thibaut Courtois. Diego Simeone? He's been the coach of the year and that won't change no matter what happens next Saturday. Atlético has players like Diego Costa, an unbelievably effective weapon that not just gets the ball to the net, but also gets under the opponents skin. They have guys like Arda Turán, David Villa, Filipe Luis, Miranda, Koke, and the list goes on and on and on. Cast-offs? Give me a break.
It's also a team with fans that are...well, quite special. If they are not throwing lighters to Cristiano Ronaldo (damn tyrants), they dedicate monkey chants to Marcelo (another tyrant, this one with fantastic hair, so damn him too) or Levante's Papakouli Diop (damn...well, damn you, Diop!).
They also take flopping and provoking to another level. Costa? Please. Even some Barça players are jealous of his flopping skills and how he plays the victim card so damn well. You just have to remember that second leg of the Copa del Rey semifinal at the Calderón to see just how noble and appealing they are. Down 3-0 after the game at the Bernabéu, they didn't care about winning or even having a little dignity. They just jumped on the pitch to provoke and hurt Real Madrid players. The image of a frustrated Cebolla Rodríguez chasing Xabi Alonso, while the man with the red beard simply ignored him was so damn perfect. Oh, but poor Colchoneros.
Even after winning La Liga, and after these pathetic scenes, they are still the victims. They are still the appealing side. It's annoying and quite unbelievable, but this is where we are.
It doesn't help that they are facing their city rivals, who just happen to be, without a doubt, the greatest team in the history of the sport. I mean, we've listened to people hate Ronaldo just for being the best player in the world and still having the chance to make a living as a model. Damn him. Now it's almost a sin to be one of the wealthiest teams. Heh. It's so easy to hate greatness.
Real Madrid are simply the bad guys. That's how a big part of the world sees them. Even if it's Atlético trying to hurt Ronaldo and Bale from the first minute, we'll be the bad guys. If Cristiano gets hit and is down in pain, a lot of people will boo him. If Atlético wins after a poor call by the refs or even if the winning goal is scored by a guy who should've seen the red card before, a lot of people will still say just what a great story they are.
But you know what? This is all going to make this a lot sweeter. Let people unite against Real Madrid. Let us be the arrogant jerks who think they are just so damn great. People will say it anyway. If the story of the Merengues winning the European Cup, a story that has been replayed nine teams in the past, gets boring, let people sleep.
If we're the bad guys, let's be the meanest, baddest team ever. Let's repay all the ignorance, jealousy and the sympathy towards Atlético with a statement. A statement in the shape of yet another European Cup, our tenth, our beloved Décima. A statement that will be felt all around the globe. A statement about who's simply the greatest team in the world.