The decline of the Spanish dipole. Is Atletico now the new favorite in La Liga?

The new season of the Spanish championship starts on August 13th. In what situation are three big locals approaching him?

Stagnation in Real Madrid

The most titled club in La Liga history before the start of the new season looks like a stuffed leader. Externally, Real Madrid, thanks to the big names in the lineup, still look tough, but in reality it seems that this team has already reached the end of its life cycle. This summer, the management of Madrid again refused to upgrade, allowing the club to set a very characteristic record. For the first time in half a century, Real Madrid has not made a single purchase in three consecutive transfer periods! In July, only David Alaba entered Madrid: the Austrian left Bayern free.

Florentino Perez has already said that Real Madrid’s transfer campaign this summer can be considered complete. Judging by the president’s words, Madrid still pin their hopes on its long-term leaders in the person of Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and Tony Kroos, but in terms of age – the players have turned 99 in total – it is unlikely. to be able to ensure the success of the club from a distance. It seems that the previous two seasons, Zinedine Zidane has already managed to extract the maximum from this team, whose swan song was the gold of the “coronavirus” of Examples 2019/20. Now, however, Real Madrid is left without its magician coach and the helm of the team has been taken over by Carlo Ancelotti, a specialist whose golden days are also behind him.

Nothing good foretells for the club and the loss of two key central defenders: Rafael Varane and Sergio Ramos. Ahead of the second, the club also lost a long-time leader – a leader with a strong talent and a winning spirit. The duo of Nacho Fernandez and Alaba, played by Ancelotti during the preparation, does not seem so desperate, but, unfortunately, does not even pull the title, especially since the average age of both players is thirty years.

Decorated to order, the Royal Club seems to be going through a stagnant period in its history today. Given the club’s financial situation, it will be delayed at least until next summer, so you should not expect great achievements from Real Madrid in the near future. Last season, Madrid almost left the group stage of the Champions League with two defeats by Shakhtar and were ashamed in the King’s Cup, losing to a team from the fourth division of the country, which was left without a single trophy. In the current situation, the fans should only rely on the fact that the team does not fall even lower.

Absolutely everyone knows about the crisis in Catalonia recently – even outside the football world. The general public understood the plight of Barcelona after the departure of Lionel Messi, who was the personification of the team for many years. Now, in the words of club president Joan Laporta, a new era is beginning for Blue Garnet. This is true: after Messi’s departure, the club will not need cosmetic repairs, but a global restructuring. Barcelona, ​​in general, has lost a key element of its tactical system: the team’s game in recent years has been built exclusively around Leo.

With the renewal of the lineup, things in Barcelona are even more interesting. The Catalans managed to strengthen their budget this summer due to the free transfers of Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero. The latter wanted to leave the Camp Nou after the news of Messi’s transfer to PSG, but luckily, he was injured during the preparation: now Koon simply has nowhere to go. The problem, however, is that Barcelona has not yet managed to officially declare either himself or the other two recruits! According to Mundo Deportivo, Leo’s transfer did not solve the club’s financial problems and the Blue Garnets still have to get rid of their payroll to get a new registration permit. Whether the club will be able to get rid of the long-term ballast on the face of Coutinho and Umtiti is an open question, but so far it seems unlikely.

Seeing the chaos in the Catalan offices, it is hard to believe that the club will achieve some stability on the football fields in the near future. The first match of “Barcelona” should take place on August 15 and Ronald Koeman does not even know which of the players will be at his disposal! In the last control meeting, the coach played Depay and Braithwaite in the attack: one club is not registered yet and the other is going to be sold in the Premier League. At the same time, Blue Garnet has no time to build: the original part of the team’s diary looks scary. Barça’s top 10 games of the season include games against Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Valencia, Sevilla, Sociedad, Athletic and Granada!

Barcelona had one of their weakest seasons with Messi last year. The team was eliminated from the Champions League already in the στά final stage and in the Example finished third – this bronze was the first for the club since 2008. Kuman sweetened the pill for the Catalan fans with a victory in the Copa del Rey, but also there the Argentine was the main creator of Barça’s success. The new season should show if the Dutch coach has enough qualifications to achieve results without the trump card of the Argentine in the starting lineup.

A historic opportunity for Atletico

The decline of two Spanish giants, of course, benefits the third more. Last year’s Atletico championship was particularly revealing against the background of the crisis of Real Madrid and Barcelona. “Mattress” achieved a steady lead over rivals in the first half of the season, taking advantage of their mistakes, and with this baggage reached the last part of the league. In the last few games, the distance between Atletico and Real Madrid was small, but the morale and strong skills already worked here: Diego Simeone’s team kept the front line with its teeth and snatched the gold it deserved in the last game.

This time, Atletico may well repeat last year’s trick. First, the calendar at the beginning of the “mattress” is quite successful: in the first seven games they got only two decent opponents – Villarreal and Athletic. Secondly, Real Madrid and Barcelona, ​​as already mentioned, start the season in a state of reconstruction: one club with a new coach and without a leader, the other without a leader and organizational chaos. Atletico, on the other hand, embodies positive stability. Diego Simeone extended his contract with Madrid until 2024 in July, with the club’s president saying that the Argentine “can stay at the helm for as long as he wants”. None of the leaders, it seems, will leave Wanda Metropolitano either.

In addition, before the new season, Atletico has been greatly strengthened thanks to the 35 million transfer of Rodrigo De Paul, who won the America’s Cup with Argentina this summer. So far, this is the most expensive and promising deal of the season in Spain! But the club is not going to stop there. The Mattresses are planning to acquire the 21-year-old talent of Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina and are now fighting for the player with Tottenham. Atletico’s second priority is to acquire Wolverhampton striker Rafa Mir. The Barcelona graduate looked great at the Tokyo Olympics: according to the Spanish press, the club has already agreed a contract with the footballer.

The last time the “mattress” managed to defend the title more than half a century ago – in 1951, when “Real” and “Barcelona” were also going through difficult times and did not even enter the first three examples. Now Atletico is approaching the beginning of the season almost as a favorite, which in itself is a feeling. In terms of the cost of the starting line-up, the team is still lower than Barcelona and Real Madrid (729 million euros compared to 763 million and 849 million respectively), but by no means in terms of quality and balance. If Atletico manages to win a second consecutive championship, it will be a historic discovery for the club.

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