LaLiga: Real Madrid, Barcelona still 'in the fight' for league title despite Atletico's massive lead, says Julio Baptista
Former Real Madrid and Sevilla attacker Julio Baptista speaks about Atletico Madrid's excellent run in the LaLiga, and Real Madrid and Barcelona's struggles.
LaLiga has garnered a reputation in recent years for being a two-horse race. At the end of every season, the winner of the title, and usually also the Copa del Rey, is either Barcelona or Real Madrid. Between the pair of them, the clubs have won an incredible 60 out of 89 seasons so far, and in recent decades, their dominance has continued to grow. In the 20 seasons played since the turn of the millennium, only three have been won by teams other than Los Blancos and Blaugrana.
All of this makes what is happening in LaLiga this season so much more noteworthy. At the time of this article's writing, historical also-rans Atletico Madrid have a sizeable five-point gap over local rivals Real Madrid in second and an eight-point gap over Barcelona in third. They also have two games in hand, meaning the lead could be a massive 11 points if they were to win those two fixtures.
With such a massive advantage, it's easy to get carried away in thinking that Los Rojiblancos are well on their way to winning their 11th league title, but former Sevilla and Real Madrid attacker and LaLiga Ambassador Julio Baptista called for patience, saying, "to talk about Atletico Madrid’s chances of winning the league now it’s very complicated. There’s still a lot of matches left to play, but Atletico do have a big advantage at the moment. What’s important, when you’re ahead of the competition is to make sure there aren’t many mistakes made, and if they can do that, there’s no reason they couldn’t win the league."
"It’s not just Atletico, you know. I think it’s the general situation right now, with what’s going on in the world. COVID-19 has led to a lot of different results, because of the tight schedules and injuries. When you’re a coach and you’re planning for a game, you have to factor in the possibility that someone might test positive for COVID-19 the next day, which is a very difficult proposition. I think teams that have slightly bigger squads have done well, and Atletico has a lot of talented players," added Baptista in a media interaction.
Baptista, who scored 63 goals in 151 appearances in the LaLiga for Sevilla, Real Madrid and Malaga, also warned against ruling out quality teams like Madrid and Barcelona, saying, "teams like Real Madrid and Barcelona didn’t start too well, but they’re still in the fight. This happens sometimes, quality teams struggle but when they have a good run, they can quickly close up the gap with teams above them. You can't forget about them. Maybe we’ll come to a point in the season where the gap won’t be 10 points, maybe it’ll be 3 or 4 points."
LaLiga matches can be streamed online on Facebook Watch.
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