Would Atletico Madrid be able to sustain their success or is it only a single season phenomenon?

Would Atletico Madrid be able to sustain their success or is it only a single season  phenomenon?

Come May 18th when the La Liga season ends, Atletico Madrid might become the new champion, thus breaking the duopoly of Barcelona and Real Madrid for the first time since 2004. Add to that they might also get through to the finals of the Champions League this Wednesday. And what makes this achievement so special is that Atletico has a budget which is one-fifth that of Real Madrid and Barcelona and so-called the bigger clubs. But the question is whether Atletico Madrid would be able to replicate their success in the coming seasons or is it a one-year phenomenon.

Atletico Madrid had success in the last season as well giving Barca and Real a run for their money in the La Liga before succumbing late due to the limitations in the squad. However they did win a silverware thanks to their Copa del Rey win over their illustrious city rivals. But at the start of the new season, people were apprehensive if Atletico can demonstrate a similar title challenge since they had sold their best player, Radamel Falcao to Monaco and also due to their participation in the Champions League. And look how they have silenced their doubters.

With just three match to go, they are firmly in control of their own destiny and two wins out of the three matches should be enough for them to clinch the crown for the first time since 1996. Also their semi-final tie against Chelsea look firmly balanced with everything to play for on Wednesday’s second leg.

So even after selling their best player, how did they manage to outdo last season’s achievements? A major reason is due to their brilliant manager Diego Simeone, who have instilled such a level of unity and team-spirit in the team that the Atletico players are ready to die for their manager and their club. Together with that the club have done brilliantly in the transfer market in recent years. The current squad has a number of free transfers like Miranda and Adrian who have become integral part of the squad and their loan signings like Thibaut Courtois have been one of the best performers for the club, while David Villa, Diego Ribas and Juanfran were each signed for €5 million or less. And with the emergence of Diego Costa and Koke this season, Atletico have stayed competitive.

However, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for Atletico Madrid to sustain their success considering they have over €500 million of debt and the financial restrictions will not allow them to keep hold of their best players and like last season, they have to sell their best talents in order to survive. With the current debt situation they have to operate on a strict budget for at least the next four to five years.

But they showed this season that big budget is not the only requisite for success and provided they hold on to Diego Simeone and continue to unearth gems for the unlikeliest of the sources, they should do fine. Atletico are enjoying a truly magnificent season and everyone barring the Real and Barca supporters would love them to win the La Liga title. But it is too early to say that they would consistently challenge Barcelona and Real Madrid in the league and continue to remain one of the best teams in Europe.

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