Suarez and Atletico Madrid vindicated by La Liga title win

The title came Atletico’s way after seven long years. Real Madrid with 84 points finished second.

What has usually been a routine two-horse race in the Spanish La Liga, was broken when Luis Suarez netted the winning goal to help Atletico Madrid win the Spanish League Title.

Suarez was in tears at the end of the final whistle as the title proved his vindication of the disrespect and exit from Barcelona. The Uruguayan forward revealed that he was reduced to tears by the treatment meted out to him in his final weeks at the Catalan club, wherein he was not allowed to be part of even training matches. It was certainly without doubt that Barcelona’s loss served to be Atletico’s gain.

The title came Atletico’s way after seven long years. Since arriving at Atletico Madrid at the start of 2012, Diego Simeone has now led Los Rojiblancos to eight trophies and this is only the second time in the last 17 seasons that anyone other than Madrid or Barcelona has won LaLiga. Atletico’s last title triumph came in 2014.

Real Madrid with 84 points finished second, just two points behind their city rivals while Barcelona finished third and Sevilla fourth.

Football pundits had always complained that the Spanish League was turning out to be non-competitive as year after year the divide between both Real Madrid and Barcelona and the rest of the 18 teams was only widening – and that the rest were only competing for spots below third place. But what went wrong for Barca and Real Madrid to miss the title this year?

The Pandemic stricken season could be one reason why both these teams could have suffered. The clubs have the most fans in the world and when it comes to in-stadia attendance. In football. it is rare to find anything as exciting as an El Classico. A stadium filled with supporters surely adds to the thrill, fandom and euphoria that sets the turf ablaze. These big stage players ride heavily on such passion and the absence of the fans could be a reason why a more focused and determined Atletico Madrid reaped the success this year.

There is no doubt that Atletico’s determination and self-belief is what got Diego Simeone’s team across the finish line and in the first place. Atletico had three of their strikers among the top 20 scorers in the Spanish League this season. Luis Suárez certainly had a point to prove and his 21 goals and 3 assists found form in Marcos Llorente’s 12 goals and 11 assists. The 26-year-old Spaniard who plays predominantly in the midfield, doubled up as a second striker to help win crucial games for Simeone. Argentine winger Ángel Correa joined the party up front for Atletico and contributed with 9 goals and 8 assists to make a big dent in the opposition defense.

While Messi too scored in the Spanish League, firing in 30 goals for Barca, he could not find support from his other teammates to get onto the scoring charts. The story of their firepower is evident as Antonie Griezmann for the Catalans only 13 times this season. When Barca showed Suarez the exit doors, it left Messi with little help up front. For the mighty Real Madrid, Karim Benzema was the best finisher with a tally of 22 goals to his credit. There was no other Madrid player amongst the top 20 scorers in the La Liga table this season. A string of injury woes starting from skipper Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Dani Carvajal, Federal Mendy and Federico Valverde have not helped Zidane field a full squad most of this season. The fact that Real Madrid suffered 50 injuries and 7 Covid cases and still finished in second place, is a creditable finish for the Los Blancos.

Surely Atletico Madrid celebrates the season with the Spanish Crown, but the big question that still stares us in the face is that will the next year witness the return of the Kings or will teams like Sevilla, Real Sociedad, Real Betis or Villarreal stake their claim of Spain’s Big Prize?