Former Atletico Madrid and Barcelona goalkeeper Miguel Reina has affirmed that the beaten 2014 finalists deserved to lift the Champions League that year, as the two Spanish sides gear up for a mouth-watering quarter-final clash.
Reina played in the Atletico side that finished runners-up to Bayern Munich in 1974, after the final had gone to a replay when Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck’s last-minute effort tied the original clash.
Diego Simeone’s men suffered an almost identical fate 40 years later thanks to Sergio Ramos’s header, and eventually went down 4-1 to Real Madrid after extra time.
When asked about Atleti’s Champions League chances, Reina told Goal: “Let’s see what happens. First up [for Atletico] is the Barcelona clash.
“In order to be champions you have to beat everyone. I hope they can take it one day because they deserve it.”
The former shot-stopper added that it was no shock to see the club compete alongside Europe’s best, and if they do beat Barca it would be on merit – despite the Catalans’ formidable strikeforce.
“Atletico are not giving any surprises, they are showing they are a great team, where everybody fights, everybody runs, and that they can beat anyone,” he added.
“Right now Barcelona are a step ahead of everyone else. They have three forwards that nobody else can boast, although [Antoine] Griezmann is fantastic, [Fernando] Torres is fantastic, but Barca have Suarez, Messi and the Brazilian kid [Neymar]… wow.
“With them, and also the guys behind that lay it on a plate for them, my God. They have a great work ethic, although so do Atletico Madrid. These games are made for fans.”
One thing Reina believes could play in Atletico’s favour, however, is knowing that they will have to raise their game to take down the Champions League holders.
“[Barca’s rivals] definitely are scared, but they want to win. That is why they always give 100 percent, it is a great handicap,” he explained.
“Barcelona will always have to face that in every match, they have to run hard every game.
“That is the advantage Barcelona concede every Sunday, each team wants to beat them or at least not get run over. They have to give 100 percent and Barcelona also have to give 100 percent as a result.”