Believe, for this is real. Atlético Madrid are the crowned champions of Spain, having toppled super-powers Real Madrid and Barcelona over the course of a 38-game season. With the mantra of “one match at a time”, Diego Simeone’s men have achieved the unimaginable.
For those of you Colchoneros still alive to read this, let’s revisit Atlético’s agonising 1-1 tie versus Málaga. How close were Diego Simeone’s men from achieving eternal glory on Sunday? A Willy Caballero fingernail close.
Score, and hang on for dear life! This has apparently been Atlético’s game plan in their last three home games, all of which they have won by the same 1-0 margin. After getting off to a great start against Villarreal on Saturday, opening up the scoring within the first 15 minutes of action, los Rojiblancos spent most of their time warding off the Yellow Submarine.
Atlético put together a hairy-chested, stomp-your-foot-on-the-ground-and-punch-a-Madridista-in-the-face comeback performance in Bilbao on Saturday to earn their fifth straight league win. Stunned by an unexpected Athletic goal in the sixth minute — the first goal they had conceded in five La Liga matches — Diego Simeone’s hombres recovered quickly and went on to conquer the new San Mamés for the second time this season.
While eternal rivals Real Madrid were en route to a second straight loss in less than a week at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, Atlético had to sweat one out themselves at home against Granada Wednesday night. Los Rojiblancos made their fans wait until just past the hour mark before they could erupt in celebration.
While the rest of the universe was focussed on El Clásico, Atlético had their sights set on first place. Atleti supporters suffered through the endless Barcelona and Real Madrid fodder all week long, but, in the end, they were rewarded handsomely.
15 home games into the present La Liga campaign, and Atlético remain unvanquished at the Vicente Calderón. Espanyol, the latest visitors to ‘Cholo Castle’, certainly put up a fight, but los Rojiblancos were able to gut out the result for their third straight triumph in all competitions.
After over an hour of mostly dispirited play by Atlético in Vigo, the men in and red and white sparked back to life to abruptly terminate their foes 2-0. The game against Celta started off eerily similar to Atleti’s previous two trips in league play–the squad looked all too comfortable letting their opponents dictate play while hardly offering much of a threat in attack of their own.
Huh? What the hell was that? For the second straight league match away from home, Atlético resembled the version of themselves spearheaded by Gregorio Manzano before Diego Simeone came to the rescue.
So much for a crisis. It took all of four minutes on Saturday for Atlético to puncture a pair of mortal wounds into Valladolid at the Vicente Calderón. Los Rojiblancos then sat back and watched as their opponents bled out for most of the evening before delivering the final death blow–thereby snapping an ugly streak of three goalless losses.