Atletico Madrid: No Falcao, no problem
Over the last few years, it has looked increasingly difficult to close the gap between La Liga’s big two – Barcelona and Real Madrid – and the rest of the pack. However, it now looks like Atletico Madrid are doing just that. With players like David Villa and Adrian in the ranks, things are looking up for Atleti this season, as they are catching the eye in the Champions League as well as in La Liga, where they currently sit joint-top with Barça.
When Colombian star Radamel Falcao left the Vicente Calderon for big-spending AS Monaco at the start of the summer, some critics claimed that Atletico would struggle to replicate their results with the Colombian international, and that they needed a world-class striker to replace him.
Boy, did they manage that. Spain’s all-time leading scorer and a Champions League winner with Barcelona – not bad for just over £4.2 million. That man was, of course, David Villa.
With that particular Spaniard at the head of the attack, results seem to be improving. Seven straight La Liga wins have meant Los Colchoneros sit five points clear of their Madrid rivals Real, and level with Barcelona, the current title holders. Early in the season still, but there’s definitely signs that the dominance of the big teams could certainly be breaking.
There were early signs last season that Atleti were on their way back up, whilst Falcao was still in the ranks. A 3rd place finish after being close to the two teams above them for much of the season certainly pleased Diego Simeone, and they’ve started to build on that already this year, although they did have to fight off competition from other clubs for some big players such as Diego Costa, which they managed successfully – proving that there is an allure to La Liga clubs that aren’t Barça or Real.
It’s still only early days, but things are definitely looking up for Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid side.