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Atlético proved they can win La Liga and Champions League with Real thrashing

first_img Did Mahrez just accidentally reveal Fernandinho is leaving Man City this summer? SORRY Every Championship club’s best signing of the decade, including Taarabt and Dack The Colchoneros’ 4-2 hammering of their city rivals in the UEFA Super Cup was a sign that they are capable of meeting those heady new expectations. There is always pressure when it comes to Atlético v Real, but this time it felt different.In the build up to the game, several of Spain’s sporting media outlets went to great lengths to point out that Madrid’s noisy neighbours had made just as much noise as the 13-time European champions in the transfer market this summer. Their €124million spend in the current window is almost identical to that of Florentino Pérez.“Atlético’s squad is worth more than Madrid’s for the first time in history,” Marca wrote as if to make a point, breaking down the value of the players in painstaking detail as well as the two opposing coaches according to the current market. Even the ever cautious Diego Simeone admitted ahead of the game that Atleti “have to improve on what we did last season” and that “the demands placed on us are based on the squad we’re building”. Latest Football News NEW ERA England’s most successful clubs of the past decade, according to trophies won Guardiola-inspired tactics: Is this how Arsenal will line up under Arteta? Most Popular Football News How Arsenal could line up in Arteta’s first official game in charge – Ozil return? smart causal Tottenham predicted XI to face Brighton with Mourinho expected to make big changes The average first-team salaries at every Premier League club in 2019 latest whoops Best clips, calls and talkSPORT moments of 2019, feat Hearn, McCoist and more How the Premier League table could change after the Boxing Day fixtures How Everton could look in January under Ancelotti with new signings Getty Images Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade Every current Premier League club’s best kit from the past decade RANKED How the Premier League table could change after the Boxing Day fixtures MONEY Thomas Partey, who with his combination of dribbling, drive, and defensive discipline is one of the most underrated players in Spanish football at present, entered the fray as the game was heading to extra time. Pouncing upon an error by a lethargic Raphael Varane, his smart cross towards the penalty spot picked out Saúl for a peach of a finish that put Atlético back in front and broke Madrid’s resistance.And Vitolo, who had come on for Rodri with normal time running down and Simeone pushing to put the game to bed, allowed Koke to move into the middle to take advantage of the withdrawal of Madrid’s key defensive midfielder Casemiro, as well as adding pace and trickery to stretch Madrid’s tiring back four. When the teams were announced before kick-off in Tallinn the quality of that new squad was really driven home. In the starting 11 were several players among the best in the world in their positions: Jan Oblak, Diego Godín, Koke, Saúl Ñíguez, Diego Costa and Antoine Griezmann. So too were promising young talents Rodri (brought home this summer from Villarreal after an excellent season in Spain’s top flight) and World Cup winner Thomas Lemar (brought in at a club-record fee of €70 million euros).But it was the bench that was most striking. Filipe Luis, José Maria Giménez, Thomas Partey, Gelson Martins, Vitolo and Ángel Correa all started the match on the bench. All are good enough for a place in any squad competing for major trophies. 5 gameday Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade predicted Atletico Madrid players celebrate winning the European Super Cup against Real Madrid. This is the real difference between the current Atlético and the ones of years gone by. In the past Simeone’s sides have relied on a solid base group of 11-14 top class players, but have often struggled with meeting the demands of rotation or changing things mid-game from the bench. No longer: in Tallinn he unleashed his new toys to staggering effect – and he didn’t even use them all.Though the Colchoneros started perfectly with a vintage Costa goal putting them ahead in the opening minutes, they faded and were 2-1 behind with just over an hour gone, spending more and more time in their own half. Typical Atlético – and in particular, typical Atlético against Real in Europe, it seemed.Then the potential of their options from the bench was put into practice for the first time. Correa, replacing Griezmann, played a blinder – his best game in an Atlético shirt, taking into account the occasion and the unfavourable scoreline. Not only did the Argentine wriggle to the by-line and provide the cut-back for Costa’s important equalizer, he also constantly held up the ball, read where the space was with perfection and picked out team-mates time after time, outclassing Griezmann who did nothing before being hooked. New Atletico Madrid star Gelson Martins could only make the bench for the UEFA Super Cup. It may only be a European Super Cup, not La Liga or the Champions League, but had Atlético lost in Estonia, the backlash going into their difficult opening game of the La Liga season against Valencia would have been significant. All that money, only to crumble against Real Madrid when the pressure is really on, the same way they always do? Imagine.Instead, Simeone and Atleti prepare to kick off the league season on Monday with clear justification for their outlay this summer, not to mention the perfect confidence boost that beating city rivals and reigning European champions in such a convincing manner provides. “With the squad we have, if everyone is right, clearly we’ll have the chance to win trophies,” a relaxed Simeone was able to say in the post-match press conference. He knows how far they can go. silverware Tottenham v Brighton LIVE: talkSPORT commentary and team news for Boxing Day opener ALTERED possible standings Atlético Madrid have long been a thorn in the side of Barcelona and Real Madrid, but after matching both in transfer spending this summer, they can no longer claim to be the plucky underdogs.It’s time for Diego Simeone to step up and deliver another league title, or the Champions League that has slipped from between their fingers twice before. possible standings He may have been a winner on the night but Antoine Griezmann wasn’t quite at his brilliant best. gameday cracker Liverpool news live: Klopp reveals when Minamino will play and issues injury update smart causal 5 England’s most successful clubs of the past decade, according to trophies won Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT 5 revealed impact highlights Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos scores against Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup. 5 Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone celebrates his side’s win. changes At one point the winger left Dani Carvajal stumbling like a drunk with his quick feet – the kind of humiliation Atleti are usually on the receiving end in this fixture – and he would eventually pick up the assist for his team’s fourth, scored by Koke from the central position Vitolo’s entrance had allowed him to move into. It was the icing on the cake that certified the night as one of Atlético dominance, and one where their new versatility took effect.This was clearly a win made by the depth and quality of Atlético’s squad – other new arrivals like striker Nikola Kalinic and attacking full-back Santiago Arias didn’t even play. Perhaps for the first time ever, that depth overshadowed Real Madrid’s and exposed their inability to turn the tide with their own squad – the use of Sergio Ramos as an auxiliary striker alongside youngster Borja Mayoral in the dying minutes a telling sign of their lack of options at centre-forward. Sky Sports presenter apologises for remarks made during Neville’s racism discussion silverware 5 Every current Premier League club’s best kit from the past decade With the most significant financial backing ever given to a coach by Atlético’s owners, the most complete squad ever seen in the red and white shirt at his disposal, and this year’s Champions League final at their home stadium looming on the horizon, it’s time for the man who specializes in delivering silverware where it’s least likely to step up and meet a new challenge: delivering something big when it’s expected of him.You can follow La Liga expert Lee Roden on Twitter here.last_img read more