Champions League Final Shows Dominance of Spanish Soccer
One year removed from what was being deemed the beginning of a brand new era in European soccer, things have righted themselves in the most appropriate of ways.
In the semifinals of the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona were eliminated by German clubs Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich in embarrassing fashion.
Although Munich playing well wasn?t new to the world, Dortmund dominating Real prompted some pundits to claim that the Spanish reign was over in Europe.
But now, following Real taking down crosstown rivals Atletico Madrid, it looks like all that talk was for naught.
Despite the claims that Bayern were supposed to be one of the greatest teams ever assembled, with new manager Pep Guardiola leading the way, the Champions League holders were pushed out of the competition by eventual winners Real.
Oh, and the Europa League, Europe?s second best cup competition, was won by La Liga side Sevilla.
So just a year after the end of Spanish dominance, Europe is completely dominated by Spain.
Ironic, isn?t it?
Although it wouldn?t surprise me at all to see Munich back at the top of Europe again next season, declaring a balance of power seems a little premature.
Real Madrid is the world?s most successful club, claiming 32 La Liga titles to go along with their 10 European crowns, and despite some of its most prominent players reaching the twilight of their careers, Barcelona will continue to be a force.
Although Atletico is likely to take a step back next season, likely losing striker Diego Costa among other players this summer, the talent in place there should be enough for another run in the Champions League next year.
But this brings us to the bigger point, Spanish football will never truly go away as a power because there is money at the big clubs.
As long as these teams stay rich, they will stay relevant. That is just the way the modern world of soccer works, even teams with renowned youth systems like Barcelona would struggle to compete regularly strong finances.
At the FIFA World Cup this summer Spain will be looking to capture it?s fourth consecutive major international championship, after winning the Euro?s in 2008 and 2012 and winning the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.
If the squad can capture this unprecedented level of success, it heads into Brazil as the No. 1-ranked team in the world, Spanish soccer will be in a stronger place than it has ever been.