Why Atletico Madrid's Title Triumph Is Good for the State of La Liga

Tre' AtkinsonFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2014

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 17:  Diego Simeone the coach of Club Atletico de Madrid is thrown in the air by his players after winning the La Liga after the match between FC Barcelona and Club Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou on May 17, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

On Saturday night, Atletico Madrid did the unthinkable. Los Colchoneros drew 1-1 with Barcelona at the Camp Nou to finish the season with a total of 90 points and were crowned the champions of Spain.

For many, Atletico were the underdogs this season that were looking to topple the big two of Spain. Honestly, that is exactly what they were, and the world cheered them on every week as they remained in the title race.

Diego Simeone's side were unofficially the team that everyone wanted to see win the championship, but no one ever really thought they would when the season kicked off.

It seemed like everyone had the same thoughts as the season began many months ago—it would be great to see Atletico win the title, but they probably wouldn't. It was said that the squad wasn't deep enough, that there weren't enough stars and that Barcelona and Real Madrid were just too good.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 17:  Thibaut Courtois of Atletico de Madrid celebrates with his teammate Diego Godin of Atletico de Madrid at the end of the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Club Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou on May 17, 2014 in Barcelona, Sp
David Ramos/Getty Images

Yet in the early season it was clear that Atletico had a goal. They wanted to buck the trend and lift the title, even though it seemed like something impossible.

A few months into the season, the "second team in Madrid" began to drop points. Their status in the table began to fluctuate, but they were never out of the race. 

Several times it looked as though Atletico would finally fall off the pace and start to drop further behind the Big Two. That never happened. Los Colchoneros continually picked themselves up, dusted off the dirt and kept fighting.

Everything came together on Saturday, just like everyone wanted it to.

After seeing Alexis Sanchez give Barcelona the early lead, Atletico again refused to go down. Diego Godin drew the visitors level, which was just enough to see them lift the title after the match was over.

The Camp Nou gave Atletico a standing ovation and even joined in chanting for the new La Liga champions. Even Barcelona, the team that had just lost the title, knew how big of an accomplishment this was.

Atletico Madrid officially became the first La Liga team besides Barcelona or Real Madrid to win the title in a decade. Spain had gone 10 years with the Big Two dominating the trophies, and it was time that came to an end.

Furthermore, Atletico are only the fourth team since 2000 to win the title outside of the Big Two. For over a decade La Liga has been called a two-horse race, but those days may now be over.

Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

The biggest problem in Spain is how the money has been shared. Countless clubs are neck-deep in debt, while Barcelona and Real Madrid rack up the bulk of the television rights. The state of La Liga hasn't been good in a very long time, but Atletico have been given a voice.

Just when it looked like La Liga was going to become a two-team league for the foreseeable future, someone stepped up and challenged the norm. It was a great day for Spain and the league.

Barcelona and Real Madrid fans will be sad they did not get to lift the trophy this year, but even they will understand how big it was to have someone else crowned champion. 

With all of the problems in Spanish football, this needed to happen. La Liga was headed down a path of obscurity and destruction, but now there is hope.

Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

After seeing Atletico Madrid win the title, a new life was breathed into Spanish football. La Liga is no longer a two-team competition, and the football is thriving.

Fans got to see one of the best seasons in La Liga history, and it ended in the best possible way. No matter who you support, Atletico Madrid needed to win this season to save the league. One can only wonder what will happen next, but this season will go down as a success for the league as a whole.

There have been dark days in Spain for the last decade, but there is a new light shining. The duopoly is broken, and La Liga has been handed the chance to redefine their image.

The scenes after the match on Saturday were beautiful. Atletico Madrid have done the impossible, but will it last?


How important was this victory for La Liga? Is the duopoly now broken? Leave your thoughts and comments below!