Real Madrid faced a depleted Atletico Madrid side in the second leg of the Copa Del Rey semifinals earlier today and provided fans with a rather brilliant performance.
Even though both of the only goals scored were from the spot by Cristiano Ronaldo, the control, discipline and fearlessness brought back memories from their glory days. The beauty of this 2-0 victory is that it completed the 5-0 aggregate score line after the club won 3-0 at home last week. The fact that Atletico are title rivals in the league allowed them to send a dangerous direct message.
Yes folks, this rivalry has grown even fiercer. Come March, Real Madrid will be returning to the Vicente Calderon to play their second league match. When that times arrives, Diego Costa, Filipe Luis, Arda Turan, David Villa and Diego Godin are all expected to be present. The fact that they missed today’s game came as nothing short of a sucker punch to Atletico as they are some of the most influential members of the team.
When Atletico have a fully healthy squad at hand, they can defeat any team they face, including Real Madrid. They proved this when they were 1-0 victors at the Santiago Bernabeu as the two faced off in late 2013 during a league match. If they get everyone back in time and play a strong game in front of their fans, they can grab all three points yet again.
This rivalry is becoming something special. In fact, sooner rather than later, it will be the second-most popular after the El Clasico (Real Madrid-Barcelona). With Atletico growing as a club under coach Diego Simeone, the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer. The league title and Champions League play are both still there to focus on. If they can bounce back from this loss, they will a team worth watching.