Atletico Madrid set to challenge in La Liga and Champions League

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Last season Atletico Madrid did the unthinkable. Against all odds, they won La Liga and were runners up in the Champions League. This year, it's a similar story.

Despite being just one point behind league leaders Real Madrid, Atletico are still not considered as real contenders and many expect them to fall away, just like they did last season. But Atletico are still up there with the big two, and they're not going anywhere.

The miraculous achievements of last season appeared to be one off. They had the Champions League ripped from their grasp by their Madrid rivals, and then they lost many key players, most notably in Thibaut Courtois, Filipe Luis and Diego Costa all going to Chelsea. It seemed as if their success was never meant to last.

Now we're almost at the halfway mark through this La Liga season and just a point separates the top three. Atletico have remained consistent throughout the season and as a result they find themselves in the round of 16 of the Champions League and are very much in the hunt for another league title. This is largely due to how efficient Simeone was in replacing his stars.

The additions of Miguel Angel Moya, Guilherme Siqueira, Antoine Griezmann and Mario Mandzukic as well as others were able to give the squad the depth and quality it needed in order to try build on last season's success. Simeone is always looking to improve his side.

With new signings Raul Jimenez and Alessio Cerci not contributing much to the squad, he saw the need for a new striker, and swiftly moved for former Atletico hero Fernando Torres; a controversial signing, but one which gives Atletico an option to play balls in behind the oppostion. He could prove to be an important addition.

As long as Atletico can continue playing the way they are, they will match any team. They are a group of players that work extremely hard defensively, and simply don't make mistakes in defense.

That defensive solidity, combined with quality attacking players like Arda Turan and Antoine Griezmann makes them an extremely difficult team to beat-just ask Barcelona and Real Madrid.

This is a team with one of world footballs top managers, a talented group of players, and it is simply a team that refuses to lose games. I expect them to challenge for all three of the Champions League, La Liga and the Copa del Rey. This is no longer a group of players who shocked Spanish football, this is now a leading club in European Football who must be taken seriously.

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