by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (May 18th 2014)
Barçelona’s failure to snatch the Primera División title at Camp Nou yesterday consigned the Catalan giants to their first season without a major trophy since 2008. Following the 1-1 draw that gave the title to Atlético de Madrid, it was announced by Sporting Director Andoni Zubizarreta that Gerardo (Tata) Martino would leave Camp Nou early.
The former Paraguay and Newell’s Old Boys coach replaced the late Tito Vilanova last July, but leaves by mutual consent after less than a year. Barçelona knew that only a win yesterday could save their season, but fellow Argentine Diego Simeone’s Atlético side managed a draw to win the title for the first time since 1996 – Simeone had been a key player in that side.
Atlético de Madrid is the first team to break the duopoly of Barçelona and Real Madrid since Rafa Benítez’ Valencia a decade ago. Valencia won a historic double that season. Atlético remain in contention for a double as they face cross-town rivals Real Madrid in the Champion’s League final next weekend. La Real remain in contention for a double too, having beaten Martino’s team in the final of the Copa del Rey. Simeone not only out-thought Martino yesterday, but knocked Barça out of the Champion’s League in the quarter-final too.