Simeone hails one of Atletico`s greatest days

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone lauded his players efforts as they claimed their first La Liga title for 18 years with a 1-1 draw at Barcelona on Saturday.

Needing just a point to become the first side other than Barcelona and Real Madrid to win the league in 10 years, Atletico fell behind just after the half hour mark to Alexis Sanchez`s wonder strike.

However, they responded like champions after the break as Diego Godin powered home Gabi`s corner.

"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," said the Argentine.

Simeone also paid tribute to former Spain manager and Atletico`s greatest ever player Luis Aragones, who passed away at the age of 75 earlier this year.

"I want to thank Miguel Angel Gil (chief executive), who believed in us, Enrique Cerezo (club president) and obviously Luis Aragones, who I am sure was defending in our area in the second-half. Above all, I want to thank the fans who believed in this group and wanted us to build something big here."

There could even be more glory to come for Atletico as they will attempt to win the Champions League for the first time in their history next weekend when they take on Real Madrid in Lisbon.

"We are desperate to get back to Madrid and see the city dressed in red and white. Today we were able to make history, but we need to play on Saturday and we need to prepare for Saturday."

Atletico captain Gabi also hailed the belief his side had throughout the campaign to overcome the riches of Barca and Real.

"Today the team deserved this title. They have been up to the task. We always believed in ourselves, even when we went behind, we believed in the team and got the draw we deserved.

"It is an honour to belong to this team and to fight with the biggest sides is great. Now we will celebrate and from Monday start to think about the Champions League final."

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