LONDON // Atletico Madrid coach Abel Resino says it is impossible to compete with the spending muscle of Real Madrid and Barcelona, creating a three-tier competition within the Primera Liga. "Real and Barcelona are very, very far from the rest of the other Spanish teams in terms of economic power," Resino said. "After them, there are a group of five or six, including us, Valencia, Sevilla, Villarreal. Those are more or less who can compete among themselves. And then the rest."
Real have recruited heavily since Florentino Perez's return as president, buying Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United, Kaka from AC Milan and Karim Benzema from Lyon. Barcelona broke their transfer record to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Inter Milan after winning the league, Copa del Rey and Champions League last season. Atletico have not won the Spanish league since 1996. There have only been two teams besides Real and Barcelona to win the title in the past 10 years - Valencia in 2002 and 2004 and Deportivo la Coruna in 2000.
Resino, who joined Atletico in February from Castellon, declined to go so far as saying his team had no chance of winning the league. "Atletico Madrid are a team who through their history have always had to fight hard," he said. Atletico lost 2-1 to Arsenal in a friendly on Saturday, but Resino was pleased with his team's performance saying it was good preparation if the two teams meet in the Champions League play-off later this month.