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.
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.
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.
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.
Atlético grinded out a narrow 1-0 road victory over Málaga on Saturday to briefly take over the top spot in La Liga. For a while, it appeared as if recent history would repeat itself. Los Rojiblancos’ previous two visits to La Rosaleda had both ended in scoreless draws, so when the 70th minute mark was
Atlético fooled around with Valencia in the opening half of Sunday’s encounter, waiting until after the break to land all the heavy blows in another knockout performance at the Vicente Calderón that ended in a 3-0 rout. Valencia came into the match having scored in their previous 26 league games, but Atleti completely snuffed out their attack on the night.
Atlético were able to best Elche 2-0 after a fiercely contested first half in which the scrappy hosts matched Simeone’s men in guts and intensity at the Estadio Martínez Valero. Second half goals by the Colchoneros’ dynamic duo of Koke and Diego Costa were enough to put out Fran Escribá’s charges’ fire.