The story of Athletico Madrid this campaign: Can they be La Liga Champions?
Who would have thought since the days of Valencia 10 years ago that there would be a title challenger to the mighty Real Madrid and Barcelona. With so much financial power coming from the humongous sponsorship deals and the television rights, Real and Barca have literally dominated the Spanish league with no other challenge. Any team looking to pose a challenge has its best players taken off them like Valencia and Malaga.
With such a huge wage bill of 500m euros(Barca) and 550m euros (Real) they are competing with teams like Rayo Vallecano with a modest 7m only .Athletico are third on the table with 120m euros are finally providing a challenge to the mighty two in Spain.
While Falcao was the major driving force last season with all his goals he had to leave to a big money summer move but one man didn’t leave manager Diego Simeone who has created a team that is self believing with a great work rate and attacking talent. he has continued the tradition of Athletico that is to create a genuine top quality striker Fernando Torres, Sergio Aguero,Diego Forlan,Radamel Falcao and now the brazil born superstar Diego Costa. Along with the signings of David Villa at just 2.1m euros the attack looks balanced and lively
The defensive unit is one of the strongest in the league, 2 strong center backs in Diego Godin and Miranda along with full backs Felipe Luis and Juafran go forward but are excellent defending back. On the flanks, they are supported by high pressing wingers in Koke and Turan.the central midfield is probably the strongest part on the pitch Gabi the leader along with box to box midfielder Mario are shaping to even outclass rival pair of veteran Alonso and Khedira.
After the sale of excellent young talent of David de Gea in the middle of the posts, they loaned probably one of the brightest young star in Europe in Thibaut Cortouis who is a beast and is the one major reason behind their success this season. They are now finally becoming strong on the financial fronts after the sales of Falcao (60m euros) and the defender Martin Demichells (5m euros) to Manchester city the player that they signed from Malaga for free 5 weeks earlier and a sponsorship deal worth 30m euros.
2 Europa League titles in 2010 in 2012 along with a final overhaul of Real Madrid in copa Del rey they are finally making some noise in Madrid. They have started this season brightly with eight wins out of eight matching the power of the Catalans and leaving behind city rivals by 5 points. They just put the icing on the cake with 1-0 victory over Real at the Bernabeu their first over them for 14 years in the league.
The tables are turning and it can now be said that they are “One of the Madrid teams” rather than “The other Madrid team”.
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