Last year, Atlético Madrid won the Spanish La Liga somewhat unexpected. Thus they broke the dominance of the giants Real Madrid and FC Barcelona’s. Atlético were even close to winning the Champions League against Real Madrid but big brother just managed to score the equalizer in stoppage time and win the final game in overtime.
Here we examine the three top candidates for the league title a little bit closer:
Last year’s league-winner has lost some men. Trustworthy goalscorer Diego Costa will be missing and so will the steady goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois be. Atlético has reinforced the team with a couple of offensive players: Mario Mandzukic and Antoine Griezmann.
In the 2013/2014 season it was not thanks to a team full of superstars they won La Liga. It was thanks to hard work and an unmatched work ethic. Coach Diego Simeone is this team’s key figure. If he can squeeze out of the same effect from this year’s team as last year, then Atlético Madrid will be a team to be reckoned with in both the Spanish league and the Champions League this year.
However, it will be much tougher season 2014/2015. No one will underestimate the team anymore. The fact that they won the league last year, they will be chased, it will be a scalp to beat Atlético Madrid for all the teams.
Barcelona has, as usual, an interesting team when you look at their lineup. Or how about striker Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez? We choose, however, to put a question mark on the team’s midfield. In this summer’s World Cup the Spanish game was brutally run over and by the German style of play. Will Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez deliver? The question is whether FC Barcelona need to re-think their strategies to keep up with the top European football in 2014?
Just like Barcelona, Real Madrid has a team filled with superstars this year, just like we are accustomed to. In their midfield we find two exciting new acquisitions who both did an excellent football World Cup in Brazil: The German world champion Toni Kroos and Colombian top-goalscorer James Rodriguez. Among the team’s attackers, it is hard not to highlight the superstar Ronaldo. However, if you look at how the teams other players performed in the World Cup it’s a wounded team, especially if you look at the defencemen. Can Sergei Ramos, Pepe and Marcelo recover from their fiascos in Brazil 2014 and reload for a fine season in their club team?
This year’s edition of Real Madrid feels like all or nothing: If you get together a hungry team of superstars will they be lethal. If not, they will at most end up third place in the spanish league and get a travelpass home from the quarterfinals of the Champions League.