Atletico Madrid soccer club from Spain has reached the finals of the most prestigious soccer club tournament in Europe. Their sponsor is the an incongruous oil-rich country. Yes, across Atletico’s jersey it has Azerbaijan with Land of Fire written underneath it.
The success of Atletico has been phenomenal this year in the sport of soccer under their new coach Argentinian Diego Simeone. Under the new coach, Atletico is currently fighting for the championship title in La Ligua Spanish Soccer League, with same-city rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona FC.
Additonally, Atletico has also reached the finals of the UEFA Champions League to be played on Saturday, May 24, in Lisbon, Portugal. This tournament is the biggest and most watched international soccer club tournament. It is the best trophy to be earned as a European soccer club, and Atletico has a great chance to win.
With this success that Atletico is accomplishing, Azerbaijan is in for the ride for being the sponsor of the Spaniard team. Atletico’s success has made it possible for the oil-rich country from the Caucasus region.
Now that the name has been seen and driven to success, by sponsoring a successful soccer club from Spain, the country is bidding to host the 2020 Olympic Games. At the same time, the country is rising with major developments to attrack tourism by building high-class hotels and apartments. All this through advertising on a jersey from a successful sports’ team.
The UEFA Champions League, for the first ever, will also showcase two soccer club teams from the same city. Yes, Atletico will face same-city rivals Real Madrid in the finals. This aspect is a historically huge event. and has brought more attention than usual, and this tournament gets a great deal of attention each year.
Atletico is the underdog in for the UEFA Champions League final due to the fact that Real has had more success throughout the years in their domestic league and internationally. However, Atletico has been the dream killer for many teams so far.
In the Champion League, Atletico Madrid has taken out the likes of Chelsea and Barcelona who are two giants in the soccer world. Now, the club faces their same-city rival who is more like the big brother. In comparison, this would be like seeing the LA Clippers versus the LA Lakers in the NBA Western finals. Except, the Champions League final is an international tournament, not domestic.
If Atletico were to win this historic match against Real, Azerbaijan will have much to celebrate as the sponsor of the Spaniard team. This accomplishment will help the former Soviet Union country erase some of bad history or perhaps what is currently happening now.
The oil-rich country has been criticized for its human rights record. Azerbaijan has been accused of suppressing opposition, restricting freedom from protesters and religious practices, and evicting the poor for construction projects.
As for Atletico Madrid, the club only has one mission, and it is to be included with the European elite. The Spaniard club is a game away from accomplishing the mission and, if successful, Azerbaijan might be included for its involvement as a sponsor.
Commentary by Jose Herrera