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UEFA Champions League

Atleti's Gabi wants Barcelona to join Madrid sides in Champions League semis

16:23 EAT 19/04/2017
Gabi - cropped
The Atletico Madrid captain would like to see the Catalans advance, putting three Spanish sides in the final four

Atletico Madrid captain Gabi wants Barcelona to complete another improbable comeback against Juventus and continue Spanish dominance of the Champions League.

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Atleti battled to a 1-1 draw against Premier League champions Leicester City on Tuesday, completing a 2-1 aggregate victory after Saul Niguez's away goal stacked the odds heavily in their favour at the King Power Stadium.

Diego Simeone's side are through to the semi-finals for the third time in four seasons alongside city rivals Real Madrid, who beat them after extra-time and penalties respectively in the 2014 and 2016 finals and triumphed in a 2015 quarter-final.

Gabi refused to be drawn when asked about a desire for revenge over Madrid, but he offered a message of support to Barca, who must overturn a 3-0 deficit from a torrid first-leg in Turin having been forced to come from 4-0 behind against Paris Saint-Germain in the previous round.

"I just want to be in the final. Any rival will be so complicated," Gabi told reporters.

"I want Barcelona to go through and it would be very good with three Spanish teams in semi-finals. But even if they don't go through, any team will be complicated."

Barcelona beat Juventus in the 2015 final in between the all-Madrid tussles, and Gabi believed his team's exploits on those runs stood them in good stead as Leicester piled on pressure following Jamie Vardy's 61st-minute equaliser.

"We have experience enough in this kind of games," he said. "We knew Leicester were not going to give up.

"I would like to congratulate them for the Champions League they have done, because it is something to admire.

"It is true that we could have secured the game on the counter-attack and we didn't. The teams that don't suffer in Champions League don't deserve to be here."

Gabi added: "I hope you guys [the media] value this. I told my team-mates in the dressing-room that they should value this.

"It may seem standard or easy what we do but it is not. I feel proud of the team and we have to keep working like we do in order to get to the final."