“From here on I am changing from ‘going ahead game by game,’” Simeone said. “Now all of us Atleticos are going forward final by final.”
Here are five things to know about Atletico’s title bid with five matches to play:
LONG TIME COMING
The last time Atletico Madrid won the Spanish league, coach Diego Simeone was wearing its red-and-white shirt as a midfielder. That was 18 years ago when the team claimed its ninth league title and also won the Copa del Rey.
Since then, the former Argentina international has transformed it. And he did so not by making massive signings, but instead by boosting the morale of his players.
He turned center backs Diego Godin and Miranda into the most trustworthy in the league and made midfielders Arda Turan and Tiago Cardoso into tough, physical competitors.
But even more impressively, Simeone recovered striker Diego Costa and playmaker Raul Garcia after both were loaned out for the 2011-12 season when they couldn’t earn a place on the squad.