Maja Hitij/Getty Images
Atletico Madrid lifted the 2018 UEFA Europa League trophy after beating Marseille 3-0 in Lyon on Wednesday night.
French forward Antoine Griezmann was the hero for Atletico as he scored twice to send his team on their way to victory. Captain Gabi finished Marseille off late in the game by stroking home the third goal to seal the win.
The skipper enlisted the help of Fernando Torres, who will depart his boyhood club this summer, to lift the trophy, as shown by Football on BT Sport:
Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball
Atleti captain Gabi calls on club legend and local lad Fernando Torres to help him lift the Europa League trophy ❤️ https://t.co/6mL0ruRCrw
Gabi and manager Diego Simeone both paid tribute to Torres after the game, via the competition’s official website. Gabi said: “This cup has given us a lot. Torres deserves it more than most—there’s no better way to say goodbye to Atleti.”
Simeone added: “For Fernando Torres, it’s a dream come true. I hope the stadium is bouncing on Sunday—he deserves the best send-off possible.”
Griezmann also offered his thoughts after lifting the Europa League, per BeIN Sports (h/t Marca).
“I left home at 14 years old because I wanted to win trophies, this is my second after the Supercopa, and I hope there can be more. [Marseille] are an offensive team, they work very well. We work ourselves and defend well to be a hard opponent who takes advantage of their errors.”
Griezmann’s future has been the subject of huge speculation with speculation a deal has been agreed to take him to Barcelona, per Sport (h/t Juan Jimenez at AS).
The forward was not interested in discussing his future after the game, as shown by Dermot Corrigan at ESPN FC:
Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan
Griezmann: “It is not the moment to talk about my future, I must enjoy having won a trophy, and celebrate it with the fans. The truth is this was a dream for me, to win a trophy with Atletico, with El Cholo and my friends and teammates.”
Former England striker Gary Lineker said it was an easy win for Atletico and highlighted Spanish teams’ dominance in European competition:
Gary Lineker @GaryLineker
Easy win for Atletico. Spanish teams have won 12 of the last 18 European finals. Hard to argue against La Liga being the strongest in Europe.
Television pundit Jermaine Jenas gave his view on Griezmann’s performance, as shown by Indy Football:
Indy Football @IndyFootball
Jermaine Jenas on Antoine Griezmann: “The game looks easy to him. It’s what the best in the world do, they perform on the biggest stage. He’s trained himself to have this cool persona in the most pressurised moments.” https://t.co/P5BRz8sOei
Real Madrid C.F.🇺🇸🇬🇧 @realmadriden
Congratulations @Atleti for the @EuropaLeague title obtained tonight in Lyon.
Atletico players Diego Godin and Kevin Gameiro showed their celebrations on Twitter:
Kevin Gameiro @kevingameiro9
⚪♥Gracias a todos 👏🏽 #RoadToNeptuno #AúpaAtleti
👉🏼 🏆🏆🏆🏆 https://t.co/twaqSOD8mk
The final was a disappointment for Marseille, who started well but then fell behind and lost talisman Dimitri Payet to injury.
Defender Adil Rami said his team need to learn from the defeat, as shown by Marseille’s Twitter account:
Olympique Marseille @OM_English
🗣️ @Rami13officiel reacts after that painful @EuropaLeague final defeat ⚪️🔵 https://t.co/kzcY0euPTb
Marseille manager Rudi Garcia said the better team had won, via the competition’s official website.
“We missed our chance in the first half. We had the best chance first up and then we made a mistake that cost us a goal. Against a team like Atletico you cannot afford to fall behind as it becomes difficult. They lifted their level in the second half and I regret that we were out of luck when Mitroglou hit the post. A goal then would have got us back into the match. Atlético are a great team and we have no reason to be ashamed of this loss.”
Atletico were favourites to win the competition after dropping into the tournament from the UEFA Champions League. Simeone’s side are incredibly tough to beat and in Griezmann up front had the star quality needed to clinch the title.