The last matchday aptly summed up the La liga title race of the 2020-21 session. The matchday started with Atletico having the upper hand to themselves, losing it and only to see Real Madrid losing the advantage as well. The league race was still on till the 92nd minute, and the title race, no less than a well-made Hollywood thriller, ended up in Atletico’s last laugh.
Atletico won the league last in 2014. With a prime and strong Barcelona and Real Madrid team as contenders, that win was a win against the odds. With both Barcelona and Real Madrid going through a rebuilding phase currently, Atletico Madrid had to take the opportunity this time to end their trophy drought. The drought ended, accompanied by a dramatic turn of events swaying like a pendulum. Nevertheless, it was they themselves who made their ultimate triumph harder.
Starting the season in a grand manner by destroying Granada, Atletico Madrid clearly showed glimpses of what they were going to achieve this year. Standing on the top of the table 9 points clear off the second team, they clearly were the favourite.
However, Barcelona somehow regaining form, Real Madrid battling well even with injuries, and Atletico losing points against small teams made the title race interesting. When things were almost going out of Atletico’s hands, the Samaritan had to be an unwanted veteran who was kicked out of his former club Barcelona, Luis Suarez.
This reminds of the old David Villa story who had left Barcelona, and won La liga joining Atletico Madrid in 2014. This time again when a Barcelona striker arrived at Atletico, some of the dangerously optimistic fans had found a pattern to be hopeful for the title race. Scoring a late winner against Osasuna in a spectacular fashion, Suarez had indeed turned out to be the samaritan for Atletico. Scoring the winner in the last match to deprive Real was the perfect icing of the cake.
Not everyone is a fan of Simeone’s physical defensive style of football. It is tough, and at times frustrating for the opponent fans to watch. But Simeone always delivers with limited resources he has, compared to the other two La liga giants- Real Madrid and Barcelona. And his team now have deprived their city rivals, who had deprived them of the highest European honour twice in 2014 and 2016
Injury struck Real Madrid fought really well, keeping the title hope alive till the last minutes of the season, and many pundits agree this to be the best season of Zidane in terms of tactics.
Barcelona is, on the other hand, on a rebuilding stage and aging Messi got going midway through the season only to end up with a reality check. Overall, Atletico cannot be called the best side blatantly, but they were the bravest one for sure. And the fortune favoured the brave this time quite rightfully so. The scenes after their win and the celebration of the players with the fan speaks volume about how badly they needed this trophy.