It is now getting to the stage where the only shock expressed at such an omission is the fact that people are even asking why the La Liga winners have been overlooked at all.
Despite having the season of their lives last term, winning the Spanish league and coming within literally a minute of landing the Champions League to boot, their manager Diego Simeone failed to win the coach of the year at the Ballon d’Or ceremony, nor did the club see any of their players in the world XI.
A world XI that David Luiz managed to get into. As a defender. A Brazillian defender. Not someone who assisted Germany en route to winning the World Cup but someone who was voted the best central defender in the world, along with Thiago Silva.
Well who says that nice guys finish last. Clearly not off the field.
Diego Godin, who scored the goal to win Atletico Madrid the Liga at the Camp Nou, the goal that nearly won them the Champions League and the goal that saw Uruguay progress in the World Cup, failed to make the cut. Godin, who was part of the one of the meanest defences in Europe last term failed to get anywhere near the side.
Koke, Diego Costa, Joao Miranda et al also missed out – why wouldn’t they given they played for the rather untrendy Atleti after all.
Of course, this is not the first time this has happened.
Last season was pretty much the same in terms of their players. Just look at the World Cup – Joao Miranda and Filipe Luis were overlooked by Brazil – and we all know how well their defence fared in the end, with Marcelo now axed from the squad after new / returning manager Dunga claimed he ‘could not defend,’ and no one will forget how well David Luiz ended up doing, crying nearly as many tears as goals he allowed his side to conceed.
In terms of their manager, Diego Simeone should consider himself lucky to be third in the Ballon d’Or managerial awards this season, given last term he failed to make the cut totally when it came to the best coach.
Never mind the fact that he has won a trophy in each full season since taking the job in the Spanish capital. He has won the Europa League, the UEFA Super Cup, the Copa del Rey, the Primera title, a Spanish Supercopa and is a Champions League runner up – and all since 2011. That is pretty astounding by anyone’s standards. In the world.
Never mind the fact that his side have beaten Real Madrid and Barcelona over and over again, in all competitions. Never mind the fact that his side were forced to sell their star players time and time again whilst seeing their rivals buy Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez, Neymar and Luis Suarez. No, that makes no difference to anyone voting in these awards evidently.
Perhaps the single most remarkable thing that Simeone has managed to do is change the whole mentality of the club – something that you may not think is that much of an achievement, but when you consider the fact that Atleti were perennial losers, a side who did not expect to win and even if they had the lead, were fully prepared for a collapse in the second half, and a side who knew they were the underdogs in not only Madrid but also Spain, it is astounding.
Barcelona could not beat Atleti in six attempts last season. Atleti won at the Bernabeu for the first time in more than a decade. They managed to lift the league title with a squad who, come the end of the season, were exhausted and down to the bare bones – but they did it, all the while putting together a Champions League run where they beat Barcelona and Chelsea. Hardly small sides.
No matter what Atleti or their manager seem to do, the praise just doesn’t seem to be forthcoming. Perhaps it is a case of not wanting to really embrace the underdogs now they have proven to be anything but. Perhaps it is a case of sour grapes from their rivals. Perhaps people are still ignorant to the work going on in the Spanish capital outside of the Bernabeu.
It is changing the perceptions of how people see the club and their stars that could well be the biggest challenge and no doubt eventual achievement of Simeone yet – after all, you’d be a fool to bet against him.
Footyettes. Are Atleti overlooked all the time or are they just not deserving of these awards? Let us know your thoughts below, become a guest blogger or tweet us @LaFootyettes.