Los Rojiblancos have won five titles in the past four years, leading one of the club's defenders to claim they have surpassed their city rivalsDiego Godin believes Atletico Madrid’s success in recent years means Real Madrid are now firmly in their shadow.
Diego Simeone’s side won the Europa League and European Super Cup in 2012 before lifting the Copa del Rey last season after beating los Blancos in the final.
As a result, the centre-back now believes Madrid have some catching up to do after they ended 2012-13 trophyless having surrendered their Liga title to Barcelona.
“Now Madrid is in our shadow, for we have won five titles in recent years and this is very hard to accomplish,” he told reporters.
“We went out twice as champions of the Europa League, a tournament that might not be at the level of the Champions League, but it gives prestige to the club and to the players.
“The fans are thankful for Atletico’s titles, which ultimately is the most important thing.”
However, the 27-year-old has acknowledged Atleti still face an impossible task in matching the levels of spending of some of Europe's top clubs, particularly after striker Radamel Falcao joined Monaco for €59 million, but stressed that a unique team ethic can conquer any financial gulf.
He said: “It is difficult to compete against clubs with a high budget, but we are a team and we are characterised as so, and as a team and we become strong and competitive.
"With our weapons we fight against other clubs, but in the Spanish league is difficult to do so for 38 games, as well as play in the Copa del Rey and the Champions League. Sometimes the competition is exhausting.
“The first goal we have is to play the Super Cup against Barcelona, the best team in the world. But we want to win. Then we hope to be in second or third position of the Spanish league, which means earning a place in the Champions League. This gives prestige and economic resources to the club.”