Antoine Griezmann was the star of the show as his double helped Atletico Madrid seal a 3-0 victory over Marseille in the Europa League final.
The Frenchman who is expected to join Barcelona this summer, had not won a single major honour with Diego Simeone’s side before Wednesday night, but can now leave with his name securely placed in Atletico folklore after an inspirational display to seal the Europa League.
Griezmann netted either side of half-time, first thanks to a mistake from Marseille’s Andre Zambo Anguissa and the second the result of a neat one-two with the equally talented playmaker Koke. The match was won by the time Gabi thundered in the third in the 89th minute to allow celebrations to begin early.
Former West Ham playmaker Dimitri Payet saw his team fall a goal behind when Griezmann profited from an error in the first-half and disappointment turned to agony when he pulled up with a muscular injury shortly afterwards. As he departed the field, tears spilled down his face and with France set to name their World Cup squad on Thursday, the omens do not bode well for one their most gifted individuals.
His French international team-mate and opponent on the night Griezmann consoled Payet on his way off, caressing his cheek and kissing him on the forehead.
Payet left the field in tears as he succumbed to injury and left the field having played just half an hour.
This is the club’s fourth European final in Simeone’s seven years in charge. The Argentine has overseen two Champions League final defeats by Real Madrid but his team previously overcame Athletic Bilbao to lift the Europa League in 2012. Despite this season’s group stage failure in the Champions League, Atletico remain one of the most dangerous and brutal sides on the continent.