Atletico Madrid is a club which has lived in the shadows of Real Madrid for longer than they care to remember. They have also not been not been the favorites to win the la liga, which is dominated by mostly two teams, namely Barcelona and Real Madrid. Atletico have faced constant financial crises in the past which always led to star players being sold to rivals and rich clubs.
But it all changed when Diego Simeone was appointed as the manager of the Madrid club. The argentine born former footballer was an celebrated player of the Spanish club, And changed the faith of the club. Atletico has an rich history of generating top class players and mostly strikers, such as Fernando Torres, Sergio Aguero, Diego Forlan, Radamel Falcao, and the latest Atletico star Diego Costa. Diego Simeone gave opportunities to young talent and home grown players like juanfran and koke. Atletico started to make their presence felt in the la liga and started winning by playing good and aggressive football. And out of nowhere the two dominant forces had a force to be reckoned with in Atletico Madrid.
Barcelona and Real Madrid made preseason noise by signing top players like bale and neymar to challenge for the title but to everyones surprise, Atletico won the la liga last season in the most dramatic league finishes to the la liga ever. Atletico with their physical and attacking football made the lives of other teams difficult. They not only won the la liga but also made headlines by beating teams such as Barcelona and Chelsea in the Champions’ League to reach the final But lost against the worst team possible for them, against Real Madrid. “Atletico don’t deserve this” said the commentator when the world witnessed Atletico lose from being 1-0 up in the 90th minute to losing 4-1 at the end of extra time. Atletico have been exposed to the same old mentality again. They have sold some of their big players again and have the test of building their squad ahead of them. Atletico have sold ten of their players and signed fifteen new players including the Croatia’s deadly finisher Mario Mandzukic, and the young French sensation Antonie Griezmann. But the exit of the players such as Diego Costa and Felipe Luiz, David Villa and on loan Courtois who was so impressive and instrumental in the clubs success, will surely hurt them.
This season Atletico will enter the la liga as the defending champions and higher expectations than the previous years. Atletico fans would be hoping that the new players and the the determination of Diego Simeone, can once again take the Madrid club forward into an successful season in defending their title and performing well in the champions league. It would be interesting to see was the last season a fluke or does really Atletico have the ability to challenge the dominance of Barcelona and Real Madrid, or will the fans be left in disappointment and forced to remember the the last season as the glory year of the club.
– Jainam Jhaveri