Copa Del Rey 2013: Atletico Madrid in Prime Position to Repeat
Atletico Madrid was able to upset Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey finals last season, and they look poised to repeat as champions this season.
It was the first time since 1996 that Atletico walked away from the tournament as champions, and it was also their 10th title.
Winning it last season is now in the past. Fans can still celebrate the title, but the players need to move on and prepare for another set fixtures.
With the next tournament quickly approaching, the club looks ready to defend its title.
Repeating will be tougher than winning last season. Atletico outlasted its rival in the final game last season, but the club must be ready to go from the start of the Cop del Rey.
The club is going to need players to step up this year after losing a key member. Radamel Falcao left to sign with Monaco in May. He scored 34 goals for the club last season and will be tough to replace.
In an attempt to replace Falcao, Atletico was able to sign David Villa. The forward scored 18 goals and had six assists in 31 matches last season. He has already netted one goal for Atletico.
With Jose Maria Gimenez also joining the squad, Atletico has done a good job of adding talent to try make up for losing Falcao.
Replacing the scorer will be tough, but Diego Costa still remains. He added 20 goals and eight assists last season, so Atletico still has a prolific scorer. He already has three goals and one assist in four games this season.
Raul Garcia, Cristian Rodriguez and Arda Turan have each scored for the team this season.
Losing a top scorer will hurt any squad, no matter how talented the club is. Luckily for Atletico, they made a big signing over the summer and have seen players step up lately.
Will Atletico Madrid repeat as Copa del Rey champions?
Winning a title has its price, especially when the runner-up thought it should have won. Real Madrid got an early goal from Cristiano Ronaldo but lost in extra time. Ronaldo was sent off near the end of the game, and Atletico was able to hold on.
Now Real Madrid will be able to use that match as motivation for this season's Copa del Rey. Revenge will certainly add another element to this rivalry, and it could set up another classic this season.
Atletico has a lot of depth on their roster. Having the experience of winning the Copa del Rey should only benefit the squad, and they will be expected to defend their title this season.
*All stats are courtesy of ESPNFC.com
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