Many people talk about the big two in Spain of Barcelona and Real Madrid. That is understandable considering they have won the majority of La Liga titles in the last two decades.
One other club to have won the Spanish top-flight title are of course Atletico Madrid. Los Rojiblancos won the title against all odds in 2013/14. The victory was Atletico’s tenth league title in their history, making them the third most successful side in the history of the Spanish top-flight.
Diego Simeone’s team have made a bright start to the new La Liga campaign and are the only club to take maximum points from their opening three games. The stellar start has raised hopes amongst the club’s fans that this could be another successful campaign.
A big overhaul in the summer
This summer saw a massive overhaul of the Atletico squad. The likes of Antoine Griezmann, Felipe Luis, Diego Godin, Juanfran, Lucas Hernandez and Rodri all left for pastures. They were all key players too. It wasn’t like they were losing fringe players.
Simeone and the team responsible for recruitment at the club did a sterling job and in true Atletico fashion they have carried on with business as usual. A whole new backline arrived with full-backs Kieran Tripper and Renan Lodi joining centre-backs Felipe and Mario Hermoso in the Spanish capital.
Marcos Llorente arrived as Rodri’s replacement, with highly-rated attacking midfielder Joao Felix arriving for a club-record fee from Benfica too. At the moment, Atleti are not really missing the departed players.
The defensive players were ageing, so maybe it was time to renew their defensive options. It seems that the big turnaround in players may well prove beneficial in the medium to long-term for the team from the capital.
Already got a head start on their rivals
Atletico finished second place in the Spanish top-flight for the tenth time in their history last season. However, in truth, Barcelona ran away with the title once again. This season has started in a very different manner.
Barcelona have picked up just four points from their opening three La Liga games this season. Atletico’s city rivals Real Madrid have picked up just one more point than the reigning Spanish champions.
The fact that Atletico have already picked up nine points could be crucial even at this fledgeling stage of the Spanish top-flight title race. If Atletico can keep winning and gain momentum, then it will help belief within everybody at the club that they can mount a realistic title challenge.
At some point of the season, Barcelona are likely to gain some consistency, when the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez return to the team. Real Madrid are likely to gain slightly more consistency at some point too. However, if last season’s debacle is anything to go by, they may not gain enough consistency to win the league.
We will just have to wait and see what effect the new signing have once they are fully-fit and settled with Los Blancos.
May be Atletico’s best title chance in years
Although it is very early in the season, this season is shaping up to be possibility Atletico’s best chance of winning La Liga in a long time. Diego Simeone’s team are currently odds of 7/1 to finish the season as Spanish champions. Some bookmakers actually make Atleti second-favourites to top La Liga at the end of the season.
Even with the squad upheaval, Atletico seem to have a more settled team that their city rivals. The fact that Barcelona have made a poor start to their La Liga campaign also gives Los Rojiblancos hope they can win their tenth Spanish title in season 2019/20.
Could this be Atletico’s year to win La Liga?
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