In the Spanish league that’s dominated by Real Madrid and Barcelona,
Atletico Madrid are often left challenging for second or third place
In any other country, they’d certainly be fighting for the title every
season, but just in the Spanish capital city, they’re not even the biggest
Los Blancos, Atletico’s far more successful neighbours, dominated
both domestically and continentally last term, winning La Liga and the
In the two years prior to that, Barcelona were the team to beat in
winning the league in back-to-back years.
But in the 2013-14 season, Atletico got a rare taste of success,
finishing top of the table ahead of both Barca and Real.
They became the first team to break a decade of dominance between
the famous pair, which saw either of those two teams win the league in
each season since Valencia in 2004.
Unfortunately for Diego Simeone and his side, they’ve barely been able
to get over the line in any competition since then, winning only the
Spanish Super Cup in 2014
As well as falling short of challenging domestically, Atletico have seen
the Champions League elude them on a number of occasions.
They came runners-up in Europe’s elite competition in the same year
they won the league and were also beaten in the final in 2016. Both
times, they lost to rivals Real, making it even more painful.
With the squad they have, Atleti are undoubtedly one of the continent’s
strongest forces but appear to be struggling early this season.
They’re fourth in La Liga with four wins from seven games but are
struggling even more in their Champions League group.
Simeone’s side are third in Group C, behind Chelsea and Roma, picking
up just one point from two games.
That means they already have a task on their hands even reaching the
knockout stages, let alone another final.
Last week Madrid were beaten at home by Premier League champions
Chelsea and following that match, manager Simeone has paid the
English club a huge compliment.
“We had never faced a team with the intensity of Chelsea,” he told
Spanish radio Cadena Ser, as per the Daily Mail.
“We struggled to press them effectively. We improved when (Antoine)
Griezmann went on (Tiemoue) Bakayoko and left David Luiz free. But
we were imprecise.”
Naming the Blues as the most intense team Atletico have faced since
2011 is a huge compliment to Antonio Conte and his squad.
Simeone has had to compete with the likes of Real, Barca, Milan and
Bayern Munich during his time in the Atleti dugout
By naming an English team as his most intense opponent yet
that Premier League sides could once again become a force in Europe
this year, after being disappointing in recent seasons.