Six games that won Atlético the title

Atletico Madrid won their first La Liga title in 18 years on Saturday, after Barcelona and Real Madrid had dominated the division for the last 10 years. Here are six games which proved key to Atletico's run to the title.

Six games that won Atlético the title
Atletico de Madrid's football players celebrate their Spanish league title at the end of the Spanish league football match versus FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on Saturday. Photo:

Real Madrid 0 Atletico Madrid 1 – September 28th

Just four months after ending their 14-year long wait for a win over their city rivals in the Copa del Rey final, Atletico made it two wins in a row at the Bernabeu as Diego Costa's solitary goal was enough to send an early signal of the team's intent to fight for the title.

Atletico Madrid 2 Real Madrid 2 – March 2nd

After two shock defeats to Almeria and Osasuna in three games, Atletico hosted a rampant Real at the Calderon and were behind within three minutes as Karim Benzema opened the scoring.

However, in their best performance in weeks, they roared back to take the lead through Koke and Gabi and despite being pegged back by Cristiano Ronaldo's equalizer, keeping Real's lead at the top of the table down to three points proved to be crucial.

Real Madrid 3 Barcelona 4, Real Betis 0 Atletico Madrid 2 – March 23rd

Three weeks later Atletico were to take back top spot for good as they comfortably saw off relegation bound Real Betis 2-0.

Meanwhile at the Bernabeu, Barcelona ended Real's 31-game unbeaten streak to leave all three title contenders separated by just one point with nine games to play.

Athletic Bilbao 1 Atletico Madrid 2 – March 29th

Other than their final game away to Barcelona, Atletico's trip to the Bilbao on paper looked like their most difficult game remaining by the end of March.

The Basques had already taken points off Barca and Real at home and had Champions League qualification in their sights.

Iker Muniain even gave the hosts an early lead, but Atletico battled back to take all three points thanks to goals from Costa and Koke.

Barcelona 1 Atletico Madrid 1 – May 17th

An enthralling title race came down to the final weekend as after all three challengers faltered in the final stages, Atletico needed a point from the Camp Nou to seal the championship.

Alexis Sanchez's stunning opener looked to have put Barca on the road to glory, but Atletico's threat from set-pieces proved the difference as Diego Godin powered home Gabi's corner to score the goal that won the title.

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Godin says he’s going nowhere despite reports of English interest

Centre-back Diego Godin said on Tuesday he wanted to stay with Atletico Madrid "for personal reasons", but that he is yet to extend his contract which expires in 2019.

Godin says he's going nowhere despite reports of English interest
Godin greets supporters during celebrations for their Europa League victory at the Fountain of Neptune in Madrid on May 18th 2018.

The Uruguayan international had been linked with a move to Manchester United before the English transfer window closed on August 9th.

“I received offers, but decided to stay for personal reasons,” the 32-year-old Godin told Movistar+.

“I have not yet extended (my contract). I've seen a lot of things in the  press, but now, what's important is to wait and concentrate on the (UEFA Super Cup) final.”

Europa League winners Atletico take on city rivals and Champions League holders Real Madrid in the Super Cup in Tallinn on Wednesday before the start of the La Liga season this weekend.

Godin has played 350 matches for Atletico since joining from Villarreal eight years ago, winning the Spanish league title in 2014, the Europa League in 2012 and earlier this year, and the 2013 Copa del Rey.

The capital-city club has a policy of “only extending the contracts of players over the age of 30 on an annual basis”, according to Spanish sports daily AS.