It is unusual that a football game that an extra sports fact matters more than whatever happens during the 90 minutes. Even more if we take into account the dimensions of the match and its transcendence for one of the teams involved. However, despite its short duration, the guard of honor is a gesture whose analysis is extended “frame by frame”.

The Atlético de Madrid – Real Madrid derby has turned into a decisive battle due to the poor last part of the season from the home team, which has fit in with their performing throughout the entire campaign.

If the team coached by Cholo Simeone would have done their homework (their calendar was ideal for it), the decision of doing or not the guard of honor would have lost strength. Now, in a delicate situation, the club uses their rejection as a protector shield for the critics due to their performing.

However, this does not mean that if they would have paid tribute to the champions if they had their Champions League spot secured, but their decision would have certainly been more meditated.

If there is something that really annoys from all of this is the message sent from the looker room firstly by Giménez and then by Simeone: “We have respect for our people”, that is what they have been saying throughout the entire week.

It does not seem to be the right call except if they mean the fans tat will be at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. And even if that was the case, it is hard to believe that the 100% of the ‘Colchoneros’ might see doing a guard of honor to their eternal rival as an humiliation, no matter if they are going or not to the stadium.

Since the arrival of Simeone, Atlético have defended a motto above everything: “Proud to not be like you”. Tonight would just be the perfect chance to prove it. Who cares about the precedents of the rival?

The guard of honor is a tradition with the simple goal to show respect to the one who has been better than you during the season. In fact, the ‘Rojiblancos’ are the main guilty for the early achievement of the title.

The recent example from Barcelona doing the guard of honor to Betis last night does not leave Atlético in a good place either. Yes indeed, the rivalry prevails in the Madrid derby, but Atlético will be pictured if they do not get the three points. Winning should be the only way to venerate their fans.

However, the ‘Rojiblancos’ crowd must really subtract attention to the guard of honor. Getting their first victory against Real Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium is their only worry.

Atlético are battling to save their season. The gesture can be used for an endless ethical just as repetitive and boring debate, but the decision has been made. That’s it. Let’s enjoy of the substantial part of football:when the ball rolls.

Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.

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