Football

Atletico Madrid cannot be content with 3rd place La Liga finish

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Real Madrid and Barcelona supporters aside; Atletico Madrid are everyone's second favourite football team.

Los Colchoneros played some scintillating football last season to beat Spain's two traditional giants to the La Liga title and come within two minutes of winning the Champions League.

However, they must learn some lessons from former fan favourites and 2013 Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund - who have astonishingly fallen to the bottom of the Bundesliga table less than three years after their last triumph.

MASS EXODUS

In the summer, Atletico lost star players Diego Costa, Filipe Luis and Thibaut Courtois to Chelsea. Although they are still in the title race (they sit four points behind leaders Real Madrid, who have a game in hand), they have not been quite the same side this season. 

Mario Mandzukic and Antoine Griezmann have made a more than adequate contribution of 21 league goals between them; and even Fernando Torres has partially redeemed his reputation with Copa del Rey strikes against Real Madrid and Barcelona.

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However, their league tally of 43 goals just cannot be compared to Real Madrid (68) or Barcelona (57). They have also conceded more (20) than their great rivals (17 and 11) respectively.

MONEY TALKS

Dortmund's problem is that they cannot offer the same history - or wealth - as great rivals Bayern Munich. Losing Shinji Kagawa was a blow, but the transfers of Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski to Bayern are the ones that have hurt the club most.

Whilst they have not lost any stars to Real Madrid or Barcelona yet, the fact that Atletico lost three players to the far more wealthy Chelsea speaks volumes.

WINNING THE ONLY ANSWER

The wealth and history of Real and Barca means that they are more likely to sign top players than Diego Simeone's side. However, his managerial genius can save the club from falling into the same trap as Dortmund.

If he continues to win titles with limited resources, the appeal of the club will grow tremendously. Contrary to what Simeone said at the start of the season, third place is simply not good enough.

Atletico must never again be content with being loveable losers.

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Topics:
Football
La Liga
Borussia Dortmund
Real Madrid
Barcelona

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