As I type this, Cristiano has just scored his third goal of the night against Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid are cruising at 3-0 at the Calderon.
As good as Real Madrid have been tonight, I have been struck by how bad Atletico have been. Over the past 5 or so years, Diego Simeone has turned them into a hustling, bustling, suffocating machine who are phenomenally organised and hard working. The hard work paid off when they bought the league title home in the 2013/14 season, but one thing has struck me when I have watched them this year; they seem to have run out of gas and have achieved all they can under Simeone.
There are several factors behind why I think it has gone wrong for Atletico this season; loss of form from their key players such as Griezmann, Koke and Saul, big money summer signing Kevin Gameiro struggling to find the net are undoubted factors, but for me, the two champions League final losses in three seasons have got to this set of players and club. Those losses put the idea into the club that they can’t quite make it to that very highest level of elite clubs which they strive to be in; whether it be plain bad luck, a lack of belief or something else, it has got to them.
Diego Simeone has made it clear his time at the club is coming to an end, with his contract due to expire at the end of next season, but being the fierce competitor he is, will Atletico’s poor start to the season convince him to walk away earlier? I think it might and it is possible he might not last the whole of this season. If he does walk early, a change throughout the club might revitalise Atletico, or it might destroy them. It is a worrying time to be an Atletico fan right now.