Having won the La Liga title last season, Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid will be expected to challenge fiercely this time around too.
Gunning for his third league title with the club, Simeone’s excitement was evident when speaking recently that they can be genuine contenders. “With a lot of excitement (we approach the season). After repeating (what we did) seven years before, with only one player that did it in 2014, that’s Koke, to have won the title, it gives us strength to continue growing as a club and a team,” he explained.
“We have to search for alternatives and creativity to start the competition the best way with those who were here and those who arrived to strengthen us and give us stability.
“It cost us after the 2014 title because many left, now after winning it, the majority stayed.”
Losing none of their key players and adding the tremendous Rodrigo de Paul, who’ll add some vital attacking skills with his creative passing and ball carrying, this has made them even stronger.
Courtesy of PXFuel
Incredibly, despite Real Madrid losing Zinedine Zidane as manager and Barcelona losing Lionel Messi, the bookies only have Atleti as third favourite at ($3.50) for the title behind Real ($2.25) and Barca ($3.25).
Well and truly used to being underdogs, they won’t care one bit, for they just stick to executing their manager’s smartly devised plans and focusing their energy towards what happens on the pitch.
Always a challenging team to break down, La Liga’s best defence from last campaign will be similarly hard to breach in 2021/2022. With Jan Oblak in goal, one of the best keepers in the world, and defenders like Jose Gimenez, Mario Hermoso, Stefan Savic, Felipe, Kieran Trippier and Renan Lodi, they’ll be formidable here again.
Then, in midfield, their strength in depth is impressive, with players such as de Paul, Koke, Saul Niguez, Hector Herrera, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Marcos Llorente and Thomas Lemar to call on.
Going forward, they then have some highly skilled operators in the form of Joao Felix, Yannick Carrasco, Angel Correa and Luis Suarez.
Set to be right in the mix for La Liga glory once more, Atletico will certainly be difficult for any challengers to overcome, as they’ll be ready to hit the ground running while their rivals struggle to find continuity.
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