Diego Simeone may call people who think Atletico Madrid can win the league 'fools', but after Barcelona's defeat at the weekend, Atleti are level at the top of La Liga...
With Ronaldo and Messi both injured, will Atletico finally step into the limelight? Or, will the Spanish media just transfer their focus to Real Madrid's €100million man..?
In a beige suit beamed out of the 1980s by a temporal tractor beam and a haircut designed by committee, Barcelona's new boss Tata Martino was presented as the club's glittering new boss last week. The fairly unknown-in-Spain former River Plate man has already met the supporters, press and, most importantly of all, the players, with Monday's first training session with the entire squad taking place.
The strategy from Tata is "not to invent anything new", but that if everyone does what the new coach says this season, then "we'll have some very good years in front of us". Here are four immediate challenges that are already filling a bulging in-box for Barcelona's new boss. Aside from winning the Champions League, rebooting and upgrading the club's style of play and all that..
4) Keep the players starving for success
This does not mean that Tata needs to lock away the cookie jar that Gerard Pique dips into from time to time. Instead the Argentine's main task in the campaign to come is to be motivator-in-chief and try and squeeze a few more trophies out of the already squeezed-until-the-title-pips-squeak Xavi, Andrés Iniesta and Leo Messi. "We need to keep our hunger for winning," noted Tata at the manager's first press conference. At least Martino has an ally in Víctor Valdés, who confirmed that there is a no chance of a u-turn in his decision to leave at the end of the season. "I'd like to leave holding the Champions League trophy," admitted the Barça goalkeeper.
3) Find something to do with Cesc Fabregas
Manchester United may have failed in two bids for the midfielder, with Cesc apparently quite happy to hang out at the Camp Nou. but this does not mean that Tata does not need to find the Spanish international a more permanent role to keep him sweet. At the moment, the former Arsenal man features a lot more for Barça than many in England think with 32 league appearances and 11 goals last season. Nevertheless, there is the sense that Cesc is still being treated as the office work experience bod, being shuffled about from one desk to the another, when what he needs is a proper, permanent role to truly feel full and fulfilled.
2) Sign a central defender
This is more of a job for the club's strategic leadership, but Barcelona need to sign at least one world-class defender in the next couple of weeks - preferably one who is tall enough to get onto a theme-park ride. A recent pre-season friendly with Bayern Munich showed once again that Barça are disastrously lacking in height at the back, with Javier Mascherano filling in. It did not work well. Thiago Silva has just penned another deal with PSG, so the Catalan club are going to have to look far and wide for an urgent recruit if Alex Song is not to play in the back four again.
1) Make Messi and Neymar Best Friends Forever
Such is the fear in Barcelona that these two footballers will not gel either on or off the field that the first training session on Monday was pored over in the local press. 'There is a 'feeling'' gasped a relieved 'Sport' on Tuesday's front cover, as if there was going to be some kind of Gripper Stebson/Tucker Jenkins bullying situation going on after the arrival of the Brazilian import. There are many questions about whether the pair will ever pass to one another, or constantly cross each other's way on the path to the opposition's goal. Most crucially of all, there is debate over whether Neymar will do exactly as Messi says. If the answer to that is a positive, then Barcelona's campaign could still be a bright one despite a troubling summer so far.
Tim Stannard - follow him on Twitter