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Atlético triumphed because they’re still Atlético

Atlético were deserved winners of the Spanish Supercup, and buried the phantom of that tragic night in Lisbon when Sergio Ramos glanced in a 93rd-minute header. Atlético won last night because essentially they are still the same side; they may have lost key figures but maintain the same ideas and it’s the same players manning the engine room. Moyà and Mandzukic, who replaced two of recently-departed big guns, have shown security and conviction. From one day to the next, Mandzukic, with his ceaseless battling and his opener last night, has turned in himself into an Atleti idol. But the real idol is still Simeone who, by the way, surpassed himself yesterday.

As for Real Madrid, they started to lose the game right from the moment they decided to drop Di María – the piece of the jigsaw which resolved all of the team’s problems last season. And it is the arrival of James which has cost the team that loss – a severe, big loss. James is an extraordinary player but now Ancelotti has to rearrange all the pieces of the puzzle once again to fit him in. And if he has to do so under the conditions – imposed tacitly, expressly or otherwise, that Benzema must maintain his place in the side at whatever cost then he is going to have his work cut out. Because fielding James means deploying three midfielders behind him and two strikers in front of him. And James is too good, not to mention too much of a big money signing to leave him festering on the bench. Yesterday, Ancelotti was unfair with him.

Madrid’s hopes of amassing a collection of six trophies are over. They have a group of players blessed with exceptional talent - but now they are back in a position where they must start confecting a team. What they already have on board will suffice to serve hidings to half of the teams in the top division but it's not enough to beat Atlético. Atlético is not Sevilla, like I said the other day – they are the league champions and now, Spanish Supercup holders. The days of being unable to beat Madrid have started to fade. Now they have beaten Madrid and beaten Casillas. We also have to congratulate this Atlético side for ending the monotony of the unchallenged supremacy which Madrid and Barça have enjoyed up until now.

Estadísticas AS.com