If I had told you in August that two months into the Spanish league season, Barcelona would be sharing first place with a club from Madrid, most, if not all football fans would have assumed it would be Real.
So how is it Atletico have managed to rise to the top of La Liga?
There are several reasons for this, but I will start by talking about the most evident one. And it comes down to one man - Radamel Falcao.
The first thing you have to know is that I have watched the Colombian striker for four years. He moved to Portugal (where I am from) in 2009 and immediately showed what he could do.
Right off the bat, Falcao started scoring goals of all shapes and sizes and with all parts of his body.
He was quite simply a goal machine and his final season with the Dragoes was simply spectacular. The striker left Porto with an astounding record of 71 goals in 87 games.
To be honest, I was surprised when he moved to Atletico because he could have signed for a higher profile side.
However, since his agent Jorge Mendes had a good relationship with the board at Los Colchoneros, a deal was made to take Falcao to the Vicente Calderon.
What he has done since is phenomenal. Last season he practically won the Europa League single-handedly, and he has already scored 12 goals in eight games this campaign. This includes a memorable hat-trick against Champions League winners Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup.
So how good is the 26-year-old right now? I would say he is the best center-forward in the world.
In the past I have described him as a mix between Ivan Zamorano and Hugo Sanchez, and I stand by that. I would even say he is the third best player on the planet after Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
With Falcao playing like a man possessed, it has been relatively easy for his Atletico teammates to jump on the bandwagon. But it would be foolish to think he is the only reason for the team’s success.
The manager, Diego Simeone, deserves a lot of the credit. Maybe you remember him as a player? The former Argentina international was a brash, bold and belligerent midfielder.
Well, he has exhibited similar qualities as a coach and has passed a never-say-die attitude on to his players.
It has made Atletico extremely hard to beat. For once, they actually have a solid back line.
For years, they boasted some of the most talented attacking players in Europe. They have had the likes of Paulo Futre, Christian Vieiri, Fernando Torres, Diego Forlan and Sergio Aguero among others, but their efforts were constantly undone by Atletico's defensive frailties.
That is not the case this year. Helped by a stable defense, they have won 10 of 11 games in all competitions this season and are showing no signs of slowing down.
How far can they go? Right now it looks like they could finish in the top three for the first time since they won the title all the way back in 1996.
And guess who was a key player for Los Colchoneros back then? That’s right, Simeone.
he certainly can't since he's moving to Chelsea in January transfer window. the question is if $45 million can help Atletico stay in the top 5. given Spain's economy is in dust, and other clubs have no money to compete, they'll probably survive.
Good article, which is giving Atletico Madrid the recognition they deserve for their great start this season.
I hope it continues, as it would be great if a team could break up the Barcelona and Real Madrid monopoly for a change.
Super striker. Watched him against chelsea and he was unplayable on the night. football needs more players of his caliber in low profile teams like athletico.
Alex, why would Atletico sell Falcao to Chelsea with 45 million dollars when his buy-out clause is 60 million euros?
bloody good article.....he,s a good one......that Europa league final performance was smooth and polished.....just like your reporting.....a pay rise is on the way for sure.....plus a case of sagres
As a colombian I'm so proud of Falcao ! he's doing his job perfectly in Atletico, But we can not forget his goals with his National Team. Colombia led by Falcao is doing great in the eliminatories for Brazil !
You are right, it is just a matter of time. Falcao is going to be the best soccer player. He has the ability to hit gols in many ways. He has won 2 consecutive Europe leagues, the best striker of europe league of all the times, Falcao broke the record established by Klinsmann. The facts and his numbers are amazing. Go TIGRE !!!
A mi no me parece¡¡¡¡ El es un mal jugador que solo ha tenido suerte de enconttrar la pelota.
I believe this Colombian Radamel Falcao is an extra- ordinary super- magic striker I have ever heard of in recent time. He is a one -man squad that any club can rely on it times difficulty. If care is not taken Atletico Madrid judging by the rate they are moving will end up lifting the trophy this season.
Hopefully he (Falcao) will recognize that he is doing something special alongside his Atletico teammates and will stay until the summer!
Than again for 60 million euro's a lot can be done! So if he moves I think Atletico can move forward and buy a bunch of young talented players
very nice article to read. Ath Madrid deserved to be where they are now. I watched their few matches and I found them very entertaining. Falcao is surely the third best player at the moment and to be not disrespectful to Ath Mardrid I would say he could Join bigger clubs.
I think Chelsea may sign him soon.
Falcao is second in the world and only after Messi. HE is far better than C. Ronaldo. For sure he will be world best soon. Nicely written Article indeed.
Kaminero, Falcaos buy-out close with Porto was €45 mln when he extended contract in Jul. 2011. Month later Atletico paid €40 mln for him.
as a Colombian im very proud to say Falcao is a amazing player, and has lots to prove. on the other hand i would say he is by far the best player in the world. the reason being why i think he is the best player in the world is because simply Leo Messi and C. Ronaldo are from another planet and can not be compared as they are the best of the best. now with that said Colombia has lots of up coming talent that the world is yet to see. im sure all of you have heard of our young midfielder James Rodriguez and Jackson Martinez in FC Porto, or Dorlan Pabon for the italian side Parma, Freddy Guarin in Inter Milan he had 1 goal and 2 assit in the 3-1 Victory.
The best center forward at this moment in the world, not the best player in the world but the best area man at this moment.
sin duda alguna falcao el mejor, pero en colombia después de él tenemos buenos jugadores que darán de que hablar de nuestro país.para que vean que colombia no es solamente droga y violencia sino cultura y deporte y con gente sencilla y buena y de poca arrogancia.
A goal scoring Radamel Falcao will go very far. Wishing the Colombian further success for club and country. Fine article by Senhor Pinto.
he's the best for now and he will shine anywhere i believe; being young highly energetic and powerful. atletico madrid can soar higher at this level if he leave for chelsea being that hes taken them thus far..i believe the coach can fix it
Falcao is a super striker.He have great accuracy to score goals.He have great head work and brilliant fro making position.If Ronaldo and Messi are Not in La Liga obviously Falcao will take the top rank as best player in La Liga.He is a good one.Recently he has created a record of scoring more goals in one matches.He scored 5 goals in one matches.That is excellent performance from him.He is the second in the soccer world just after Great Messi.
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