Atletico Madrid CEO Miguel Angel Gil Marin has revealed that securing a return to the Champions League is integral to their continued financial stability and, by association, its hopes of holding on to star striker Radamel Falcao.
The Rojiblancos lifted the Europa League in Bucharest on Wednesday night but need to defeat Villarreal at El Madrigal on Sunday and hope Malaga drop points at home to Sporting Gijon if they are to finish fourth in La Liga and thus clinch a place in the qualifying round of the club game's most lucrative cup competition.
Such an outcome appears unlikely but Gil Marin has now heaped pressure on Diego Simeone's men by claiming that the club's future prosperity hinges on it.
"If the club fails to qualify for the Champions League, we will get ourselves into a revenue problem," he is quoted as saying by Marca. "Atletico need to be in the top four. And if we're not in the Champions League, then it would be difficult for [Falcao] to stay."
Gil Marin added, though, that in the overall scheme of things, retaining the Colombia international is of secondary importance, pointing out that Atletico have survived losing star players in the past.
"After [Fernando] Torres left, we kept winning," he pointed out. "After [Sergio] Aguero left, we kept winning. The club is bigger than any player."
Meanwhile, Gil Marin confessed that he had become so nervous during the second half of the Europa League final win over Athletic Bilbao that he had to leave his seat in the stands.
"I left because I was feeling poorly," he explained. "I walked around the stadium and when I heard the roar of the crowd, I thought that Athletic had scored. After learning that it was 3-0, I was able to breathe again."
Atletico's crunch clash with Villarreal and Malaga's meeting with Sporting both kick off at 12:00 p.m. ET.
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