As the final fixture of the opening weekend of La Liga entered into the 90th minute at the Vincente Calderon on Monday night, the energy and hope was clear to see and hear to all watching. The Stadium was rocking to the hymno and strains of Campeones, with Atleti leading by three goals to nil over Sporting de Gijon, after witnessing an assured and effective performance.
When the ball cracked off the right boot of Simao, introduced as a late substitute, and nestled into the corner of the net to make it four for the Madrid side, the smile of Quique Sanchez Flores radiated of the optimism that currently surrounds the club.
It may only be the end of August but Flores’ men have already claimed a trophy and sit atop, albeit on goal difference, of the La Liga table. After Friday’s success in Monaco against Internazionale, when they claimed the European Super Cup, it appears the side have returned with more than just a trophy but a new level of self belief.
It was Jurado and Forlan, finding the net twice, which provided the goals before Simao crashed home the goal that sent the noise up another level and Los Rojiblancos to the head of the league.
Kun Aguero was unable to get his name on the score sheet but his performance contained everything else. He was full of energy and running that on certain occasions last season were missing from his game that must have been a cause of the constant rumours of his future that seemed to indicate he would be moving from the Calderon.
But now we have a player who seems settled on where he is and has the look of someone taking his game to a new level.
If Atletico are serious about finding the next level as a club and mount a credible challenge for the league title this season, it can only be achieved with the little Argentinean in this sort of mood and form.
It is certainly a great start to what will be a long and difficult campaign at home and in the Europa League, once more, but as the noise from the stands confirmed, by those at the Calderon, it is a season being very much looked forward to.