Atletico Madrid began the summer by losing six of their best players but are ending it with greater belief than ever they can beat Real Madrid and Barcelona to the La Liga title, thanks in part to the exhilarating form of new striker Joao Felix.
Diego Simeone was tasked with his biggest rebuild since taking charge in 2011 after an exodus that not only drained his team of talent, including star man Antoine Griezmann, but caused many to wonder if the team could ever be the same again.
Few would expect Griezmann and the 75 million euro ($84 million) Frenkie de Jong not to make Barca even stronger, an ominous prospect given they won La Liga by 11 points only three months ago, but Atletico look best-placed to capitalise should they falter.
Forward Felix is at the heart of the optimism following his arrival for 120 million euros, erasing the pain of the Frenchman’s exit even before a competitive ball has been kicked.
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