Friday, May 16, 2014

Will Atletico Madrid end up with nothing?

Atletico Madrid go to the Camp Nou tomorrow with the hope of becoming the first Spanish team other than Real Madrid or Barcelona to win La Liga since 2003-04. Atletico themselves haven't won it since 1995-96.

They only need to avoid defeat.

But should they lose, they will then travel to Lisbon the following Saturday to play city rivals Real Madrid in the Champions League final. Lose that one too and they could end up with nothing to show for their fantastic season.

Diego Costa has been the first player in ages to get close to Ronaldo and Mess's haul of goals. Koke has provided more assists than anyone bar Angel Di Maria, and Thibaut Courtois has been so good in goal that he's either going to be the starter for Chelsea or Barcelona next year.

But is this their last chance for a while to win something? Diego Simeone is a coach in demand, Costa seems set to leave along with Courtois, whose loan expires.

Unfortunately, teams who have unexpected success seem to have their best players taken from them before they get the chance to build and threaten the long-term domination of the big boys. No doubt Sevilla will have some of their player cherry-picked after their Europa League success, while Southampton seem set to lose Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw after a great Premier League campaign.

I hope Atletico win La Liga or the Champions League (or both). It's nice to see a great group of players mix it with the big spenders. And while players like Costa and Courtois may find more success in their careers, Atletico fans may not get another chance to win something for another 20 years.