Real Madrid and Barcelona football club have monopolised the Spanish La Liga over the past 10 years. However the two La Liga giants have had intruders to their crown in the past. The brief rejuvenation of champion’s league finalist and former La Liga champions Valencia in the late 1990’s and La Liga pretenders Deportivo La Coruna to name a couple.
The two-horse dominance has now a potential long-term gatecrasher in Atletico Madrid. Since the last time Atletico won the league in 1996, Los Colchoneros have always had potential to become a force. Attack minded with players that bring real excitement in the past like, Fernando Torres, Kun Aguero, Radmel Falcao and now Diego Costa. However their Achilles heal has been their inability to be consistent throughout the season…until now.
A lot of the credit should go to their Viking like manager, former Argentina captain Diego Simone. A warrior in his playing days and that warrior mentality can be seen in his players. Not only has he helped in their resurgence, he has transformed an attack minded team to be complete in both offense and defence, with Atletico only conceding 31 goals in his first full season last year. This year Los Colchoneros have not scored as much as their dominant counter parts but have only conceded 14 in 22 games. Some pundits find their style of football to be workman like, however this is a results business and results is what we are witnessing.
The La Liga outfit have transformed their league form into an impressive run in the champion’s league. Having beaten champion’s league veterans AC Milan and the mighty Barcelona, Atletico find themselves in uncharted in the final against fierce rivals Real Madrid. And it would not be a surprise if they shocked the world by going to Lisbon this month and getting a result that would once again defy the odds.
The question is can they maintain the swashbuckling style and do what some believe is the impossible, by wrestling the title from the two fat cats of La Liga? That said for the sake of football it would only make the La liga a much better league if Atletico were to win it, and nothing is better than a good underdog. Will the little brother of Madrid shock the world as Muhammad Ali did to Sonny Liston 50 years ago? We only have less than three weeks to find out.