There’s no doubt that the La Liga title has become synonymous with Barcelona and Real Madrid going through the past decade and beyond, but Atletico Madrid have been able to give Barca and Madrid a run for their money over the past few seasons as they’ve somewhat breached the gap between the Spanish giants and the rest of the table.
It’s almost like the La Liga title belongs to the Catalan Giants and their Madrid counterparts as the fierce rivals are the only ones who always seem to be capable of winning it, but with the rise of Atletico a couple of seasons ago, things haven’t been quite the way they used to be in the La Liga.
Atletico’s La Liga uprising began with their spell of dominance in the Europa League.
Following their Europa League wins in 2010 and 2012, the team seemed to have raised the bar higher after those amazing feats, which in turn has reflected in their performances as a whole because it takes something really special to hold off against the big guns in the La Liga, and even more so, to clinch the La Liga title.
Let’s take a look at the direct influences in Atletico’s rise to the pinnacle of Spanish football.
The Simeone Effect
Diego Simeone arrived at the Vincente Calderon in 2011 following a short spell with Racing Club, before his appointment as Atleti boss, he had featured for Atletico in his playing days across two stints which made him a real fan favourite.
Simeone changed Atletico’s playing style upon his arrival to suite the new ambitions of challenging for Champions League football, but with the way things were going Simeone soon quickly realized that there was a slight chance that the La Liga title could be up for grabs if they played their cards right.
Simeone instilled a lot of discipline and will within his players as it is quite evident right now that Atleti works very hard on the pitch to keep all the departments on the pitch in perfect sync.
And he utilized his defenders in a way that would see Atletico posses one of the best defensive set-up’s in Europe with the likes of Juanfran and Diego Godin leading the charge for them on that front.
Simeone’s passionate approach to things has definitely rubbed off on his players as Atletico exhibit massive amounts of zeal in every game they go into – and zeal coupled with skill can move mountains as seen with their La Liga win in the 2013/14 season.
The Streak Of WORLD-CLASS Forwards
Atletico seems to have an eye for talent as they haven’t hit a rock regarding the shortage of goals due to the inadequacy of any of their strikers.
In the past few years, they’ve had Fernando Torres, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa, Mario Mandzukic and now Antoine Griezmann.
Diego Costa, though, was the instrumental figure in Atletico’s La Liga trophy wins in the 2013/14 season along with their feat of reaching the Champions League final in that season before being beaten by Real Madrid.
Antoine Griezmann, on the other hand, has enjoyed another prolific season with Atletico scoring 26 goals in 43 appearances; he could also go on to score some more as the La Liga season is still far from over.
Atletico currently sit at the 2nd place, 6 points behind Barcelona, and although Atleti can still catch up, it seems quite unlikely for Simeone’s men as Barcelona don’t look like they’re going to slip up anytime soon.
Nonetheless, it’s been an emphatic season for Rojiblancos, and they can be happy with their showings on the pitch this season.
Atletico have duly staked their claim in the La Liga now, and they’ll be keen on launching another title Challenge next season which may just prove to be an effective one.