Felipe VI may occupy the throne in Madrid, but who are the sporting kings of Spain? Fittingly, it has been neighbours in Spain’s royal city offering arguments with the greater weight in recent times.
Following a period of Catalan dominance, with Barcelona’s tiki-taka approach masterminded by Pep Guardiola and perfected by Lionel Messi et al, bragging rights have been dragged back to the capital.
It could be that they are there to stay, with there being two serious contenders for top honours in that part of the world.
Real Madrid, a club boasting support of the monarchy and the most decorated side in European Cup history, have seen those from down the road at Atletico re-join them at the top table.
In 2013/14, honours were shared between Madrid’s noisy neighbours, with Atletico breaking the Real-Barca monopoly on the La Liga title and making their way to the Champions League final.
They came within a matter of seconds of securing a notable double in Lisbon, only to see Sergio Ramos deny them in dramatic fashion and Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo rub salt into the wounds as Real celebrated La Decima.
There would have been plenty tipping Atletico to drop away in 2014/15, with their exploits over a remarkable 12 months considered to be something of a flash in the pan.
Summer exits for Diego Costa, Felipe Luis and Thibaut Courtois – all to Chelsea, with the latter returning to Stamford Bridge after three successful years on loan – only served to fan the Atleti-bashing flames.
This, though, is a club who positively revel in the face of adversity and like nothing better than shoving the words of naysayers back down their throats.
In some ways, it could be argued that Atletico’s exploits this season have been as impressive as those from a year previous, with the surprise factor no longer there.
Diego Simeone has positioned his side within touching distance of the summit in the league and guided them safely through to the last 16 in continental competition, with La Liga betting markets pricing the defending champions as 14/1.
If recent months have taught us anything, it is to never write off Atletico.
They will believe that they are right where they want to be, with there every chance that they will end the season back on top in Spain, Madrid and possibly Europe.
Their record against Real this season suggests that they are already the true kings of the capital.
Remarkably, two arch-rivals have locked horns six times in 2014/15, and we are only in mid-February. In those contests, Atletico are unbeaten – with four wins and two draws secured in league and cup competition.
No more derbies are pencilled in for the remaining few months, but anything could happen from this point and both would relish the opportunity to put everything on the line in the Champions League final in Berlin on June 6.
It would be some twist of fate were Madrid’s deadly duo to meet again on the grandest of stages, but Real have no intention of loosening their grip on the famous jug-eared trophy and Simeone’s side have the ultimate revenge in mind.