For the first time since 2014, Real Madrid or FC Barcelona have not won the Spanish championship. The triumph of Atletico Madrid makes it clear that the two greats need new impulses. Three theses on mastery.
In the meantime it was ten points ahead. But what would Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid be without a thrill? “We had to suffer,” said “El Cholo” in a hoarse voice after winning his second championship as coach of the Colchoneros. “But it was worth it.”
The long-distance duel with city rivals Real Madrid on Saturday turned into an exciting heart-stopping final. Simeone’s eleven did not let themselves be deterred after the 0-1 break deficit at Real Valladolid and turned the game around. Luis Suarez, of all people, scored the decisive 2: 1 – the one that FC Barcelona officials found too old and weak as a result of the historic 2: 8 swatter against FC Bayern last season and sold it to their direct league rivals for free.
“I was not valued at Barca,” said the 34-year-old with tears in his eyes after the game in Valladolid. “That was the year my family and I suffered the most. I am always grateful to Atletico, this great club, for giving me this chance.”
Suarez contributed a total of 21 goals to the championship. But it wasn’t just Uruguayan who gave Atletico the most important title in Spanish football for the first time since 2014.
1. Not just Suarez’s championship
“We have been the most consistent – and that is why we are rightly champions,” said Suarez. At least in Barcelona, nobody will contradict him, his former colleagues around friend Lionel Messi finally said goodbye to the championship race on the third last match day after several desperate mistakes against supposedly beatable opponents like Granada or Levante.
City rivals Real, on the other hand, were involved until the end, despite a number of corona and injury-related personal adversities, and also kept the upper hand 2-1 in the last game against Villarreal. The disappointment with Los Blancos was afterwards a bit bigger than with the Catalans. Because: The season ended without a title for Real, while Barca at least won the Copa del Rey.
In pre-Corona times, this would have resulted in a huge transfer offensive by Blancos. However, due to the current economic situation, the club is not capable of large investments. There are always rumors about superstars like Kylian Mbappe or Erling Haaland, but before transfers of galactic magnitude could be realized, some players would have to be struck off the payroll and sold for a profit. Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic, for example, who together cost 180 million euros – and flopped colossally. But who would like to dig deep into their pockets for such players in the current situation?
Therefore, as of now, only one commitment from David Alaba can be expected. The Munich resident is unlikely to solve Real’s problems, just like Mbappe or Haaland, single-handedly. There has been a lack of a sophisticated game idea for a long time. In addition, sinfully expensive hopefuls like Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo have barely developed tactically and playfully since their arrival in Madrid.
The expected departure of the tired coach Zinedine Zidane can therefore be an opportunity. On the other hand, the French’s charisma and relationship to some players should not be underestimated, especially since the captain Sergio Ramos, who is only tied to the club until June 30, is another cornerstone and threatens to turn the hierarchy in the team upside down.
To a large extent, Simeone’s troop remains together as before. The mission is not over – especially not Suarez’s. “I’m staying – and want to keep making history,” announced “El Pistolero” the day after winning the championship title.