Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughCan Atletico really challenge for La Liga? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Can Atletico really challenge for La Liga? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Can Atletico really challenge for La Liga?

After Atletico Madrid managed to overcome Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final, can they move on from here and become a regular competitor to their cross-town rivals and Catalan’s finest side? This season they have done well in the league and are assured of third place with three games left to play. However, they still trail their neighbours by nine points and champions Barcelona by 19 points. Diego Simeone needs to somehow close this gap if he harbours serious title aspirations.

Radamel Falcao inspired his team to a comeback in the Bernabeu on Friday night, but not by putting the ball in the back of the net. Instead he was twisting and turning his way past Raul Albiol and another Madrid player inside his own half before playing an inch perfect pass for Diego Costa to take one touch and finish with his left foot. This was to level the game at 1-1 and even though he wasn’t the headline grabber, which went to teammate Miranda, his presence and work-rate upfront kept the Madrid defenders constantly on edge and reluctant to push forward. 

The first issue facing Atletico before next season is whether they can convince their Colombian star to remain in the capital. Rumours have begun about transfer possibilities, with Monaco apparently interested in acquiring his services now that they are back in the French first division. They can offer tax incentives and an ambitious project to return to the elite level, but no European competition for the 2013/2014 season. This would appear to rule out a serious offer for Falcao, as he would want to be playing in the Champions League next year. PSG would be a more attractive proposition and with their finances and current status as French champions then could they tempt him to Paris?

Atletico need to convince their star striker that they are moving in the right direction and developing the squad to realistically challenge the status quo. If they can keep the current personnel and add a few quality signings then they could definitely be in with a chance of winning the title they last lifted in 1996. Obviously they are unable to compete financially with Barcelona and Madrid but Simeone has brought a winning mentality and togetherness to the squad, as shown with the Europa League victory against Athletic Bilbao last year and the Copa del Rey triumph. 

Fans in Spain are beginning to grow tired of a league that is over by Christmas and would prefer some excitement that a third team’s presence would generate. Unsettling the football duopoly, that has pulled away from the rest of the pack during the last decade, is a major priority and Atletico’s Argentine coach is the perfect man for the job.

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