La Liga table has an unlikely leader as the end of one of the most interesting seasons in recent memory nears and it is not Real Madrid or Barcelona, which were the undisputed favorites to win it all.
No, Atlético Madrid is currently sitting on first place in La Liga with 85 points, very comfortably ahead of the two heavy favorites and surprising most experts who didn't give them any chances considering that they don't have superstars of the caliber of Ronaldo or Messi.
It was a three-way tie for a long time, between Barca, Real, and Atlético, but then the unthinkable happened and red-hot Real lost a critical game, with Barcelona following suit. Not good timing.
Let's face it. On paper, Real Madrid (82) and Barcelona (84) are the strongest teams in La Liga, with the top two players in the world in their roster.
Atlético has been consistent in the face of incredible performances from Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the biggest stars in La Liga and this weekend they only needed to score once to remain firmly on first place and it didn't matter that Real had a "goleada" against much weaker Osasuna.
It seems Real has an almost insurmountable road ahead and unless Atlético completely falls apart the last few games -- which hasn't happened yet -- things are not looking too promising for Carlo Ancelotti and his "blancos."
However, not all is decided at this point and Atlético Madrid still has a difficult game against Valencia in next week's La Liga match. Not a sure thing at all, but if they pull it off, the team could clinch the title.
La Liga was in mourning this week, following the sad news of the death of Tito Vilanova, former Barcelona coach, who died after fighting a battle against throat cancer at the age of 45.
This weekend La Liga took pause to pay tribute to Vilanova with teams holding a minute of silence before the matches:
Minuto de silencio en El Madrigal en memoria de Tito Vilanova pic.twitter.com/xNZO5cOeKc
— FCB (@Emenderk) April 27, 2014
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 27, 2014
Moment of silence for Tito Vilanova before today's Villarreal x Barça game pic.twitter.com/YsDl7943z5
— ADIL (@Barzaboy) April 27, 2014
Back in the pitch, Atlético Madrid has won their last eight matches and have only conceded one goal during that time. Ronaldo returned to play and scored twice against Osasuna, but Barca has a lot of injuries and the untimely death of their former coach will not help in lifting their spirits as the last critical matches are played in the weeks to come in La Liga.