Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone hails team's La Liga title victory
Barcelona: Atletico Madrid claimed their 10th Spanish league crown on Saturday but first in 18 years after coming from behind to draw 1-1 away at title rivals Barcelona.
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone is tossed by his players as they celebrate their Spanish league title on Saturday. Pic/AFP
Alexis Sanchez's stunning strike fired Barca into the lead on 33 minutes, but Diego Godin's header four minutes into the second-half was enough to give Atletico the point they needed to become the first side other than Barca and Real Madrid to win La Liga in 10 years.
A point for both sides meant that Barca finished the season ahead of third-placed Real Madrid thanks to a better head-to-head record, three points adrift of Atletico.
"There is an enormous feeling of happiness that you cannot explain," said Atletico boss Diego Simeone. "I want to thank the players and the people that always believed in us.
"There is no replacement for hard work. The team has understood that, done the work and today is one of the most important days in the history of Atletico Madrid."
Goal hero Godin added that Simeone had fuelled his players' belief when they were trailing at half-time.
"We have fought all year and the work we have done is amazing. To last 38 games against two great teams Real Madrid and Barcelona is incredibly difficult," he told Canal Plus. "The boss told us at half-time that we were going to score a goal. In the end football has been fair to us."
Barca, meanwhile, finish a disappointing season without a major trophy for the first time in six years. "Congratulations to Atletico.
They are deserving champions," said Barca captain for the day Andres Iniesta. "We had our chances until the final game but they have been better."
The number of La Liga titles Atletico Madrid have won in the club's 111-year history