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Godín eyes ultimate reward for Atlético effort

Diego Godín says Club Atlético de Madrid have "suffered" for their place in the UEFA Europa League final but, like team-mate Juanfran, believes that merely being there is not enough.

Juanfran and Diego Godín hope to be celebrating in Bucharest
Juanfran and Diego Godín hope to be celebrating in Bucharest ©Getty Images

Club Atlético de Madrid defender Diego Godín told UEFA.com that football fans could expect a "truly memorable occasion" when the Rojiblancos line up against Athletic Club in a UEFA Europa League final that will boast a "special Spanish feel".

It is just five years since the tournament – in its former guise as the UEFA Cup – produced an all-Spanish showpiece with Sevilla FC overcoming RCD Espanyol on penalties to win the trophy at Hampden Park. Bucharest's National Arena plays host this time around and for Uruguayan international Godín, winning the title would be the perfect reward for a season of hard work and sacrifice.

"This group of players deserves to be going to Romania as we've all suffered together the entire year," the 26-year-old explained. "We've proved [by winning 16 of their 18 games en route to Bucharest] that we've been switched on from the outset in this competition and of course we are now delighted to be in the final."

Godín enjoyed the fruits of Atlético's triumph in the UEFA Europa League two years ago when, as a new arrival from Villarreal CF, he picked up a winners' medal with victory on his debut in the UEFA Super Cup against then UEFA Champions League holders FC Internazionale Milano.

Success on the international stage followed, with the centre-back winning the Copa América with Uruguay last summer. UEFA Europa League glory on 9 May would round off a personal hat-trick of trophies in three years and he stresses that the whole squad is desperate to achieve that.

"All of this effort will have paid off if we can beat Athletic," he said. "It's true that we are still fighting to finish as high as we can in the Liga – we've got some decisive games coming up that will see whether we can qualify for next season's Champions League – but we have so much hope invested in the Europa League.  

"[It's been a long campaign so] we will have to dip deep into our energy reserves. That's why we train so hard. We must remain focused too. The boost we got from beating Valencia in the semi-final will give us the extra strength we need."  

Admitting that "both Athletic and ourselves have done enough to warrant a final place," Godín stressed he is not done yet. "Once you're in the final you have to win it and that's exactly what we'll be trying to do."

Team-mate Juanfran concurred, telling UEFA.com: "We had to overcome a lot of obstacles to get through to this deciding match, it was something we all dreamed about. History and tradition say that Atlético should be up there fighting for trophies like these. We want to continue reaching landmarks so we have to win this one for ourselves and for our fans."