Copa Del Rey 2013: Top Takeaways from Atletico Madrid's Thrilling Victory
Atletico Madrid have heaped further frustration on Real Madrid in the final of the 2013 Copa del Rey—stunning the Spanish heavyweights in a 2-1 extra-time win.
It was their first win over Real Madrid in 14 years.
The match certainly wasn't without drama or huge talking points, with the performances of the players, managers and referees all sparking debate—especially when Miranda's header in the ninth minute of extra time gave Atletico Madrid the shocking victory.
Read on to see the biggest talking points from the 2013 Copa del Rey final.
Was This One of Jose Mourinho's Last Times at the Bernabeu?
There has been increased speculation—in this report from The Guardian, for example—that Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho will be leaving the Spanish giants in the summer transfer window for Chelsea.
Will Jose Mourinho be leaving Real Madrid for Chelsea?
And whilst there's no official word on the rumors, the question must be asked: Could this be one of the last times we'll see Mourinho managing the home team at the Bernabeu? And if it is, was this really the way in which the world-class manager wanted to leave his mark on the home fans—getting himself sent off in frustration after not receiving the call he wanted?
Mourinho was clearly frustrated at the plethora of yellow cards being handed out to his team, but in a final as big as this, he only ended up letting his team down.
He was forced to coach from the stands, and given that the match went to extra time, the fact that they didn't have Mourinho there was a huge blow. Who knows?—his presence may have resulted in the match ending before extra time began at all.
Atletico Madrid Can't Afford to Lose Radamel Falcao
Having established himself as one of the premier strikers in world football over the past two years, Radamel Falcao has become increasingly important to Atletico's future in both Spain and Europe, and they simply cannot afford to lose him over the upcoming summer transfer window.
The Colombian international has long been linked with a move away from the club—with the Daily Mail reporting interest from Manchester City, Chelsea and even Manchester United this summer—but the club can ill afford for that to happen. They've finally made it through to the Champions League for next season, and as he showed here, they've done that largely through the dominance of their star striker.
Falcao didn't find the back of the net this time, but he did grab a lot of attention from the Real Madrid defenders. That nullified him somewhat at the top of the attack, but it did open it up for the players on either side of him—especially Diego Costa and Mario Suarez—who were both very effective.
Atletico simply cannot lose that next season, and fortunately for them—despite the transfer rumors—Falcao appears committed to the club in the near future.
He told Sky Sports earlier this week that he is "under contract until 2016...[and] my mind focused where I am." Which, given his 52 goals in two years, according to Soccerway, is great news (for now) for Atletico Madrid fans.
Real Madrid Have Had a Frustrating Year
Coming into this game, it had already been a very frustrating year for Real Madrid.
Their slow start to the season had all but guaranteed the league title was Barcelona's to lose, and despite coming back to beat the Catalan club to make the Copa del Rey final, they were unable to show that form against German powerhouse Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League semifinal.
Truth be told, they were somewhat fortunate to even get that far, with close encounters against Manchester United in the Round of 16 and Galatasaray in the quarterfinal.
It had been a long year—and it still wasn't over—and they undoubtedly just wanted to win the knockout trophy, and take something positive away from this season.
Alas, Atletico Madrid weren't going to make it that easy, and they in fact dominated possession and chances for large parts of this match—something that few expected given Los Blancos' dominance this season. And whilst they weren't able to convert that into goals, they were able to make their rivals very, very frustrated and ended up stealing the win because of it.
Real Madrid finished with seven yellow cards as Cristiano Ronaldo and their manager, Jose Mourinho, were sent off.
Atletico Madrid finished as the 2013 Copa del Rey champions.
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