Atletico Madrid at the start of the season were 10/1 to win La Liga. The same odds for Arsenal winning the Premier League. In August a whisper of Atletico winning their 10th league title would have been frowned upon. The club had just sold their best player in Falcao and witnessed two megastars in Bale and Neymar arrive at record fees. In fact the first eleven on Sunday for Atletico cost all less than the value of Cesc Fabregas.
"This means something for everyone; it means that you can win in different ways."- Diego Simeone
2004 was the start of a new era in football. In 2004, a 150/1 country in Greece shocked the world and won the Euro's and a certain special one arrived in West London to change the face of English football. Before Mourinho came along in 2004, the Premier League was solely a two horse race between Manchester United and Arsenal. Since Chelsea broke the dominance of the two the Premier League has changed dramatically, with more teams involved in the title race. Ten years on Diego Simeone has guided Atletico to brake the two horse dominance most thought would never end. The two most powerful clubs in the world with the ability to buy any player they choose.
What made Diego Simeone even more respected in football was taking his backroom staff into the press conference after the game against Barcelona. It clearly shows how a team who works for each other on and off the pitch are more dangerous than a team full of ego-talented superstars.
"I want to share this moment with my people. They might not appear on the television but they work every bit as much, or more, and I want to tell you how much I admire them."
Last season Atletico finished third and needed to replace
goal machine Falcao who went to Monaco. In the end their replacement had already
been at the club in Diego Costa and transformed the hulk, who received more
yellow cards than goals last season into a prolific beast who teams have
studied like it was days just before a major exam.
Despite winning the
most memorable La Liga in years, Diego Simeone will have to wait
until August to get his hands on the trophy because the Spanish FA
president was travelling last Sunday during the title-decider. Heroes, Diego
Costa and Courtois may not
get to a chance to ever lift the trophy in their careers if rumours
suggest they are heading out of the club.
Last year children wanted the white kit of Real Madrid with
Ronaldo or Bale on the back. They wanted to be Real Madrid or Barcelona at FIFA
14 and pretended to be Messi or Neymar on the playground. Now, the tide has
turned and Atletico find themselves and deservedly so at the top of world
football. For a few days at least...