Atletico Madrid suffered a 3-0 defeat to fierce rivals Real Madrid at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday evening, courtesy of a hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo, and now find themselves nine points adrift of Los Blancos in the Spanish La Liga table, having suffered three defeats from their last four.
Are Diego Simeone’s men now out of the title race?
Recent crumble has cost Atleti dearly
Atletico Madrid were top of the Spanish La Liga table after eight games this season, having picked up 18 points and yet to suffer a defeat. The Rojiblancos conceded just three goals in this time and had earned a credible draw away to Barcelona the previous month, while beaten Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Such outstanding form earlier in the season saw heightened talk about Atleti’s title credentials, but Diego Simeone’s men have since suffered a monumental slump in form that has given them a mountain to climb in La Liga. Four games later, they find themselves sixth in the league, nine points adrift of leaders Real and having picked up just one win.
Atleti’s away form has been below par all season, and back-to-back league defeats on the road to Sevilla and Real Sociedad has seen them lose ground at the top. It had been nearly 14 months unbeaten at home until Real won 3-0 at the Vicente Calderon and now Simeone has to manage expectations following their latest setback.
Simeone’s exit from the Vicente Calderon could be accelerated
Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone will now be the subject of interest regarding his future at the club. The Argentine coach already cut his contract with Atleti to two years and has hinted at taking the side as far as they can go. Having lost two Champions League finals in the last three years, coupled with two third-place finishes in La Liga, there’s a feeling Simeone’s time may well be up in Spain.
Inter Milan, a former side of Simeone during his playing career, could be a next destination if rumours are to be believed, but his time at Atleti could be up as early as this summer depending on the outcome of this season. In the last seven campaigns, 91 points or more has been needed to win the league title. Atletico Madrid would need a minimum of 23 wins from their remaining 26 games to reach 90 points alone, and their nine point deficit will be hard to make up given the form Real are in.
Atletico Madrid are 24/1 to win the Spanish La Liga title this season, but do they realistically stand a chance?