Spanish football powerhouse Atletico Madrid are increasingly set to lose their star player Antoine Griezmann, as per reports. Despite the France international helping them to another Europa League title win, there is a strong possibility that the 27-year old will exit the La Liga side this summer.
Atletico Madrid have not been the same force that they were last season, as they have struggled to score goals on a regular basis this time around. A lot of it has to do with the numerous personnel changes that have happened in the summer. Star striker Diego Costa, who contributed most of the goals last season is now playing for Chelsea, is being felt since Mario Mandzukic is not exactly the same kind of player. In order to continue getting the results, Atletico have had to modify their style of football in the last few months.
They have been getting more number of goals from set pieces than most of the teams from Spain or Italy. This, in turn, has led to the criticism of the team’s style of football from various quarters. Due to the Spanish league being highly technical, teams do not often resort to physical style of football. Their manager, Diego Simeone, who was recently voted as the best manager in Spain last season, says that he is happy with the threat from set pieces and he finds no in using them to the benefit of his team. Atletico managed a 1-0 win over Getafe in the latest league encounter. Summer signing Mandzukic scored the only goal of the game in the 40th minute.
“It happened again today. It’s a tool in football, it seems like it’s a bad thing to score goals like this. It’s normal to have these types of options. After playing three games this week, it’s not an easy thing to score eight goals and keep three clean sheets,” said Atletico manager. They have been finding it difficult to match the exploits of last season. It is not surprising that they are fifth in the table, but they are just two points below Barcelona.
Atletico Madrid managed to get revenge over their arch rivals Real Madrid for the defeat in the Champions League final by beating them in the Super Cup. This was the match between last season’s la Liga champions and the Copa del Rey winners Real Madrid. It is the equivalent of the Community Shield in England but with the tie being played over two legs. The first leg ended as a 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernebeu with Raul Garcia managing to equalise with just two minutes of normal time remaining. Madrid’s expensive summer signing James Rodriguez had given them the lead in the 81st minute.
A 1-0 victory at the Vicente Calderon helped Atletico get revenge for the Champions League defeat. In an extraordinary campaign, Atletico not only won the league title but they also went to the Champions League final for only the second time in their history. They were leading encounter with minutes remaining on the clock before Sergio Ramos equalised. The goal appeared to have knocked the stuffing out of the team, as Atletico lost the match 4-1 with the likes of Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo scoring in extra time. The 1-0 win at home came courtesy of goal from summer signing Mario Mandzukic in the second minute.
Simeone said after the match that beating a team like Madrid gives them a lot of energy. “I am delighted with the work of these boys. We have faced a great champion like Madrid twice and to beat a great opponent like this gives us great energy and motivation moving forwards,” said the Atletico boss, who has lifted several titles with the club since taking over more than three years ago. Despite losing several key players over the summer, Atletico have replaced them with top players like Mario Mandzukic.
Atletico Madrid superstar Koke has revealed that he was subjected to interest from Barcelona in this transfer window, but he chose to remain at his boyhood club. Koke has emerged as one of the top players in Spanish football in the last few seasons. He helped the team win the Spanish league title last season, while the club also reached the final of the Champions League. The 22-year-old was a major part of this team and it is not surprising to see transfer rumours linking him with a move to the Camp Nou.
The offer, though, did not materialise into a serious will simply because Atletico and the player were not ready to move. Koke has revealed the first time that Barcelona were not entertained in their pursuit by Atletico, while he also did not want to move at this stage in his career. Koke is a player celebrated by the Atletico supporters, as they see him as one of their own. Moving to Barcelona would have been a major step in his career since the Catalan club will be continuously challenging for trophies at the top level.
Even though Atletico won the league title last season, they are not expected to sustain the success for long. The 22-year-old was also linked with a move to the Premier League with Chelsea and Manchester United interested in him.
“The truth is that part of me said it was difficult to say no to Barca but I wanted to continue at home for many years at Atletico. It wasn’t time to leave. This is my home, where I feel wanted and the club didn’t need to sell. How was I going to leave at the best time for Atletico? It’s not easy to say no to Barca and their interest was appreciated. It means the work I’ve done has paid off. But I’m at home here,” said Koke.
Tuesday was a night for the underdogs as Atletico Madrid and Manchester United managed to achieve great results from their first leg matches against Barcelona and Bayern Munich respectively. The two teams were coming into the first leg quarter-final Champions League matches as the overwhelming underdogs to get a win. This is because they will be up against far illustrious opponents – and with better form as well – in the form of Barcelona and Bayern Munich. However, Atletico Madrid have been full of surprises this campaign and they came up with another after managing a 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou.
Because of the away goal, it has put Diego Simeone’s in a great position ahead of the second leg. Even though they have lost star striker Diego Costa due to injury, it has put the club in a great position to reach the semifinals of the competition. The Vicente Calderon has never been one of the favourite grounds for Barcelona. Diego Simeone has managed to transform the fortunes of Atletico Madrid, as they are one of the teams in with a shout to win the title along with Barcelona and Real Madrid. After the 1-1 draw in which Neymar grabbed the equaliser, Simeone said that he was very happy with the result.
“I’m very happy with this team, this was the most decisive game of the two years I’ve been at the club and we are still going, showing enormous heart, and the way we fought makes me so proud, and I’m sure the fans are proud too. I’m delighted we were able to compete with Barcelona, you don’t earn the right to do that in a day, you earn it with hard work and today we showed we can compete with them,” said the former player, who also came up against his former adversary Gerardo Martino.
Atletico Madrid managed to get a crucial away win in the first leg of the Champions League last 16 match against AC Milan, as they also set foot into the quarter-finals of the competition. This is pleased the manager Diego Simeone, who says that the club played an intelligent game at the San Siro. AC Milan came into the match in a very bad shape after recently changing their manager following a poor season. Former midfielder Clarence Seedorf had taken over from Massimiliano Allegri, but results have shown little promise ahead of the match.
However, Atletico were under the pressure from Milan throughout the encounter. The Italian club created a lot of opportunities over the course of the 90 minutes, but they were unable to take any of them. On the other hand, Atletico managed to take advantage of some poor defending in the latter stages of the encounter to score crucial away goal – and subsequently get the win – through Diego Costa. The 25-year-old has been impressive form this season and he continued to demonstrate his importance to the team with a crucial goal, which could potentially take the Spanish club to the quarter-finals of the competition.
Atletico have done extremely well to maintain their momentum throughout the season and they are also challenging for the title in the Spanish league.
“We knew we were going to face an intense Milan side, especially in the first half. In the first half we lost too many balls in midfield and suffered a little. We didn’t play with the right tempo. In the second half we changed, we blocked (Mario) Balotelli and Kaka better and we started to control midfield. We kept ourselves in the game and the goal we scored allowed us to get the result we were hoping for,” said Simeone.
Manchester United tried to sign Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona last year as David Moyes wanted to combine Van Persie with the Spanish midfielder as they used to play together in Arsenal some years ago.
Unfortunately for Moyes, Fabregas decided to stay with the Catalan club, Barcelona where he now plays an important role as he is a consistent starter for Gerardo Martino having already played 23 matches for Barcelona in this season.
The former Arsenal player admitted and stated that he is flattered by having attracted the interest of a team with the caliber of Manchester United but the midfielder has no desire on leaving Barcelona anytime soon.
‘’It’s always flattering when a club like Manchester United talks very well about you and you can see they want you’ he said. But I’m going through an amazing moment at Barcelona now. I’m playing every week and I feel very important to the team. I’m very happy right now.’’ Fabregas told Complete Betting, the Bookmaker reviews website.
David Moyes ultimately had to settle by signing Marouane Fellaini from Everton as the Scottish coach wanted to solve some of the main problems that Manchester United has been going through in this season and the midfield of the team was displaying many weaknesses which is why Moyes wanted to solve it by signing Fabregas and instead had to go for Fellaini .
Fellaini was making impressive performances when he played with Everton but when he joined Manchester United, things took a huge turn as he has not been able to live up to the expectations that were created when he joined Manchester United with a price tag of €27.5 million.
Juan Mata is the latest acquisition of Moyes and the former Chelsea player has made a better debut than Fellaini but United are still struggling to climb on higher spots at the Premier League and Moyes might try to make another move for Fabregas in the summer.
Atletico Madrid recently moved to the top of the Spanish league table after their title rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid dropped points in the latest round of matches. They have thus become the first team outside the realm of Real Madrid and Barcelona to go top of the table in the last five years.
Much of it has been done to the management by David Simeone, who has already received a lot of plaudits. However, the former Atletico Madrid player received a major setback with his teammate defeated 3-0 by archrivals Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey. Read More