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López looks to push onwards and upwards

Club Atlético de Madrid ended a 14-year wait for a trophy in May and captain Antonio López hopes they can use the UEFA Super Cup as a springboard for another successful season.

Diego Forlán and Antonio López attend a press conference prior to the final
Diego Forlán and Antonio López attend a press conference prior to the final ©Getty Images

Three months after hoisting the UEFA Europa League trophy under the Hamburg night sky, Club Atlético de Madrid captain Antonio López is eager to get his hands on another piece of silverware in Friday's UEFA Super Cup showdown with FC Internazionale Milano.

For Atlético, that triumph over Fulham FC brought their first trophy since 1996 but López hopes they can collect a second honour in three months in Monaco – and provide the springboard for further success. He said: "We are a big family here and we are full of hope going into this game, it is one we have prepared very well for. Starting the season with a final like this gives you a lot of encouragement to go on and do well during the campaign. Inter have an incredible squad but we've come here to do a good job."

López, 28, is one of the fixtures in the Rojiblancos squad having spent his entire career at the Vicente Calderón, save for a two-year spell with CA Osasuna from 2002 to 2004, making 196 Spanish Liga appearances. Quique Sánchez Flores's team could feature several new faces in Monaco, most likely summer signings Diego Godín, Filipe Luis and Fran Mérida, and López observed: "We've incorporated new signings who have strengthened the defensive department. At a club like this two players per position is a necessity."

What is certain is that Atlético enter the season with the credentials of star striker Diego Forlán even further enhanced by his FIFA World Cup exploits. The two-goal hero against Fulham, he hit five in South Africa to help Uruguay reach the last four and Internazionale captain Javier Zanetti hailed his fellow South American's efforts during his pre-match media briefing. "Forlán was one of the best players of the World Cup, not just because of his goals but the work he did for the team," said Zanetti.

Forlán himself, winner of the Golden Ball for best player at the World Cup, preferred not to focus on the summer tournament. He played down talk of a duel between himself and Wesley Sneijder – whom he met in the semi-final with the Netherlands – and stressed he was intent on making amends for a different defeat, in the Spanish Cup final against Sevilla FC a week after the Fulham game. "We didn't take our chances in the Copa del Rey final and now we have an opportunity to play a final against a big name," he said. "It would be great to win it and kick off the season this way. We're all excited and committed and know what it will take."