Rock, Paper, Scissors - The La Liga Trio

Rock, Paper, Scissors - The La Liga Trio

Rock, Paper, Scissors – anyone can win.

As a kid, there’s no game more unpredictable, yet fair, than Rock, Paper, Scissors. The winner isn’t necessarily the strongest, fastest, or even smartest individual involved.

Rock beats Scissors,
Paper beats Rock,
Scissors beats Paper,
It’s simple.

Nothing reminds me more of our preschool recess ritual than the top of this season’s La Liga table.

Barcelona and Real Madrid have dominated Spanish football for so long you’d think ‘El Clasico’ was a chapter in the Bible, but on the odd year another challenger always seems to rise from the ashes and make their presence felt. For the past two seasons that challenger has been Atletico Madrid.

Over the past calendar year, the subsequent results to matches involving these three clubs have led me to believe that they’ve decided to return to their roots of playground competition by each representing one of the three shapes involved in the aforementioned game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.

I’ll explain:


This is probably the easiest of the three to determine as Atletico Madrid is known tactically for their stern defending and discipline.
The resurgence of Los Colchoneros has been something to marvel. Atletico have kind of been the team that hangs around the top four and plays well enough to just make European competition, but in the 2013-2014 season they decided that wasn’t enough.

After losing their top goalscorer the season prior in Manchester United’s Radamel Falcao, not only did Atletico make it all the way to the final of the Champions League, but shocked the football world and finish the season ahead of both Barcelona and Real Madrid as champions of La Liga. The majority of the credit having to go to their hard-nosed manager, Diego Simeone.

Rock beats Scissors…

There have already been six Madrid derbies this season. Real Madrid have won zero. Most recently, on February 7th, Atletico taught a 4-0 footballing lesson to “that other club” in Madrid at the Vicente Calderón. It’s kind of like your big brother outgrowing you after years of bullying and deciding, it’s my turn to get home and put you in a headlock for no reason.


When you think of paper you usually think organization, ethic, and girly-scream-inducing paper cuts. All of which describe how most feel about FC Barcelona.

It’s no secret, Barcelona play the sexiest football in the world. On any given weekend you can tune into beIN Sport and witness a style of football so arousing that it makes it hard to tell if Ray Hudson is commentating a football match or a fashion show.

“Magic… Fabulous”

Led by the man Thierry Henry called this week the best in the world [Lionel Messi], it’s hard to not like Barcelona. Well, unless you’re a City fan.

Paper beats Rock…

Although Atletico Madrid have had their success versus their local rival Real Madrid, the same can’t be said about their matchups with Barcelona. Barca and Atletico have met three times this season, Barca have won all three meetings, including an extremely entertaining 3-2 win in Madrid, knocking Atletico out of the Copa Del Rey.


That leaves one club. Real Madrid – the champions of Europe.

Real Madrid sliced through Europe last season all the way to La Decima. Featuring a very direct and incisive style of football, Los Blancos easily slot four past FIFA World Cup Golden Glove winner Manuel Neuer, spanking Bayern 4-0 at the Allianz. A German hadn’t been left that hung out to dry since John McClane dropped Hans Gruber from about a hundred stories at the end of the first Die Hard.

Led by the winner of the last two Ballon d’Or awards, Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid seem to never lack pace or the creativity to find a goal. I mean, unless they’re playing Atletico.

Scissors beats Paper…

It doesn’t take football expert to know that Real Madrid and Barcelona share possibly the biggest rivalry in football. The difference between their rivalry and a Manchester United – Liverpool per se, is the fact that both of these clubs challenge to not only win trophies domestically but to conquer the football world year after year. Unfortunately for Barcelona, they haven’t been able to get anything out of this fixture for a while.

Although they’ve only played once this season — a 3-1 win for Real Madrid at the Bernabeu – the last time Barca managed to get a result over the Madridistas was March 2014.

A month removed from being a year ago.

Some maybe argue that it’s only three matches without a win, but when you look at the history of this storied rivalry, and the manner in which they’ve lost – as a matter of fact, I think Marc Bartra is still trying to chase Gareth Bale – La Blaugrana won’t be too happy about their recent results.

Rock beats Scissors,

Paper beats Rock,
Scissors beats Paper,
Just like when we were kids.

Just replace the kids on a playground with 20-something years olds being paid millions to play on a giant playground. At the moment, these three clubs sit at the apex of the La Liga table with just seven points between them. It’s going to be interesting to see how it all pans out come May when La Liga crown their 85th champion.

Who is your money on?

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