Real Madrid hammered rivals Atletico Madrid 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on Wednesday evening in the first leg of their Copa Del Rey semi-final.
Goals from Pepe, Jese Rodriguez and Angel Di Maria meant that, barring an Atletico comeback at the Vicente Calderon stadium, Carlo Ancelotti’s side should ease into the final.
It has served as a reminder to Atletico Madrid and manager Diego Simeone that they are not quite a footballing superpower just yet.
They may top the La Liga table ahead of Madrid and Barcelona, but the way they were comfortably swatted aside by their city rivals will come as a blow after a near-flawless season thus far.
Atletico looked a shadow of the side that have shone so brightly this season. The industry, skill and flair that have taken them to the summit was missing in the unforgiving Bernabeu stadium last night.
Simeone is a wonderful manager and infectious character. When his players play, they play and die for him.
But the Argentine, for all his terrific tactics and romancing of the game, will know work remains if they are to win a first La Liga title since 1996.
Diego Costa, Koke and Thibaut Courtois have all been impressive, but were condemned to anonymity by a ruthless Madrid side.
They do not have a Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi figure in their team, which makes their current league standing all the more impressive.
Whether or not Atletico join the elite of world football will be dependent on if they finally lift the crown they crave the most.
The hammering by their rivals may yet spur them on, but for now will be a prompt to them that progress still needs to be made.
Learn their lessons and continue to shine, and the La Liga trophy could be heading to the Calderon.
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