The Spanish ‘minnows’ took La Liga by storm last season when they emphatically saw off both Barcelona and Real Madrid to seal their first title this century. A point at the Nou Camp claimed their 10th ever La Liga and their first since 1996. Not just content on stunning the world domestically, they almost completed a sensational double but were undone in extra time by Real Madrid in the 2014 Champions League final.
Where has this sudden burst of success come from? Atletico Madrid have always been known as a selling club with the likes of Fernando Torres, Diego Forlan, Sergio Aguero and Falcao all hitting the peak off their powers at Atletico but being sold on. Diego Costa was the latest striker to smash in the goals that helped Atletico become so successful in the 2013/2014 but he also departed the club to Chelsea this summer.
In Diego Simone they have a manager who knows the club inside out having played for them and a manager who is extremely passionate and an excellent motivator. Simone took over in December 2011, Atletico were languishing in 10th place and going nowhere particularly fast until the Argentine’s arrival. An improvement in the league was also boosted with a UEFA Europa League victory by beating fellow Spanish side, Athletic Bilbao 3-0 in the final and from this moment it was full steam ahead.
The club has done some fantastic business, including the sales of the forwards mentioned and they continue to bring in replacements that instantly succeed at Vicente Calderon Stadium. In 2007, Torres left for £26.5million and Sergio Aguero/Diego Forlanwere brought in for a combined fee of £33million. Sergio Aguero left for £38million in 2011 and then there was a new man on the block, Falcao. He was signed from Porto for £30million the same summer as Aguero left and the Colombian was then sold a couple of years later for £45million. Diego Costa is the most recent and he was signed initially as a back up to Aguero and Forlan in 2010. He eventually went on to be sold for £32million, there biggest profit on a player to date.
This epitomises the intelligence at the club and they realise that loyalty by players is a rarity. Until Atletico Madrid can consistently deliver league titles then players are likely to come and go but Diego Simone has built a strong worth ethic at the club which has helped stabilise them and then some.
Spirit is another characteristic that Atletico boast in abundance and this is largely again down to Diego Simone and his managerial style. It’s another case of a manager taking his personality as a player into his managerial stance. The desire and determination to never give up has been demonstrated by Atletico a number of times, 1-0 down to Real Madrid before drawing the game, similar to Barcelona on the last day of the season when the odds were stacked against them they ended up drawing the game and winning the title. They were also 1-0 down to Chelsea in the 2nd leg at Stamford Bridge and ended up winning the tie 3-1.
Never give up
The ability to never know when you’re beaten is a formidable trait to have and has been a big part of Atletico’s armoury to help dig them out of trouble. Atletico have demonstrated they have the ability to move on when their star players leave but it could be a different story if Diego Simone is ever lured elsewhere.
Can Athletico Madrid continue their winning ways?
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