It’s time to talk about Atleti.

I’ve put off bringing this up, cus it felt premature.  Maybe it still is.  But we can’t put it off forever.  How do we feel about Atletico?

On principle, I hate them.  Along with Valencia I consider them the biggest enablers of the Evil Empire’s dominance of La Liga finances and the biggest obstacle to TV revenue sharing reform.  I think its loathsome and pathetic that they side with Real Madrid and Barcelona obstructing a fairer revenue structure that is destroying the competitiveness of the league, with many calling it the Scottish league v2.0.

Let’s add in a number of heated historical battles for Champions League spots (the 2007/2008 season still pains me).  And of course there is the one name, end of discussion argument: Diego Costa.  Seriously, go to the top of the page, look at that cheating dirty asshole and try and tell me you wouldn’t have to choke down your own bile while watching him celebrate.

I DO NOT like Atletico Madrid.  I wish them relegation and financial ruin.

BUT.  Like them or not, they’re playing some damn good football this year.  And nearly half way into the season, they look to clearly be the only team that can challenge Barcelona and Real Madrid for the Liga title.  While I would HATE seeing the aforementioned Costa lifting up the Liga trophy, I would also LOVE seeing Real Madrid and Barcelona thwarted.  Their entitled fan bases, their ABSURD over spending, and their often unlikable mega stars and administrations would make watching an Atletico championship somewhat palatable.  A possibly worthy consolation prize to the fact that Atletico might actually win.  After the historic off season of glutinous indulgence from Real Madrid and Barcelona’s collective recent offseason, seeing them come up empty at the end of this season and hearing soundbites of them babbling about refereeing wrongs and injustices would be something to savor.

Another layer is to think about how a third team winning La Liga would or would not affect the long run likelihood of TV revenue reform.  Would a third team winning undermine the arguments that La Liga is no longer a competitive league, and possibly impede any reforms?  Or, in better financial position, might Atletico then feel free to stop being obstructionist assholes and feel more free to work on the side of greater equality and justice in La Liga?

Overall, its not an easy pick.  I used to pick Barcelona as the lesser of two evils with Madrid.  But they’ve become essentially just as loathsome in my book over the last few years, and now I don’t view the two very differently.  In the end, I think I’d just be thrilled to see a team other than Real Madrid or Barcelona win the title for a change.  For me, Atletico is the lesser of three evils.

Would you rather win Europa or qualify for the Champions League?