ATLETICO EXCEL

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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 WIN AWAY

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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.

FABREGAS WAS FLATTERED

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 MOVE TOP

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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

CHANCE MISSED

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Atletico Madrid failed to go two points clear at the top of the table after managing only a 1-1 draw with Sevilla during the weekend. They came into the match level on points with Barcelona after having managed to sustain the challenge since the start of the season. They were expected to be one of the competitors for the Champions League places, but this has been a stunning season for the club managed by one of their former players. Barcelona failed to win their match against Levante after a 1-1 draw.

This result has now meant that Barcelona and Atletico Madrid only have a one-point advantage over Real Madrid, who won their match against Real Betis 5-0 in emphatic fashion. Madrid are slowly coming to their best form and this has put Atletico Madrid’s chances of winning the title in jeopardy. Despite this, manager Diego Simeone says that he is happy with the result. The club recently played against Barcelona and drew that match as well. A number of Atletico Madrid players have been linked with moves abroad, but they would want to win the title in an extraordinary season for the club.

Summer signing David Villa opened the scoring in the 18th minute, but Rakitić’s penalty in the 73rd minute equalised for the away team, who also had a man sent off in the final minute of the match.

“We always imagined that this would be an encounter that would be resolved by fine details and that’s how it was. It was a hard fought game with a lot of competition, both teams seeking out the errors of their opponent. We’ve taken a point which serves to keep us in a privileged position in La Liga,” said the Atletico Madrid manager, whose team next face Athletic club in the Copa del Rey.

KHEDIRA SET TO LEAVE

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With reports emerging claiming that the German midfielder of Real Madrid is unhappy with the Spanish club, it was becoming more and more plausible that Khedira was going to exit Real Madrid in the winter transfer window but after suffering from a knee injury during Germany’s match against Italy, Ancelotti stepped it up and said that he will not be looking for a replacement.

We have two solutions: one is to bring in a player with similar attributes toKhedira, while the other is to change the system.

‘’What’s important is for the players to feel comfortable in the system. We have players that haven’t played that much but are in good shape, like Casemiro.

I need to ponder the solution. We have no plans to change the squad’’.

“Khedira gives balance to the team,”Ancelotti told Marca. “I’m sure we’ll manage in his absence, though he’s a very important player for us. But we’ll cope.”

C.Ronaldo and Gareth Bale are leading the charge for Real Madrid both in Champions League and La Liga as they are finally appearing to be making the partnership that every fan of Real Madrid wanted them to.

Even with the newly formed partnership from the Welshman and the Portuguese star, Real Madrid still is however trailing behind Atletico Madrid and Barcelona in La Liga and the real hit they suffered was when playing against their rivals Barcelona as they lost 2-1.

They are hoping to get revenge and bring it back if they are to meet in the next stages of the Champions League as both clubs are at the edge of securing their place into the last 16 teams of the European tournament.

Taking into consideration the huge price tag of Gareth Bale (€100 million) it will be a disappointment if Real Madrid fails to win the Champions League or La Liga.

FIGO PICKS SUCCESSOR

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Former Barcelona and Real Madrid midfielder Luis Figo has said that he expects Inter Milan’s Mateo Kovacic to be one of the best playmakers in the world. He is often compared alongside his compatriot Luka Modric and Figo thinks that the comparisons are correct.

The 19-year-old playmaker has been in stunning form for the club this season. He has already started seven league matches, as Inter Milan have made a good start under new manager Walter Mazzarri. Read More

NOT FAVOURITES

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The manager of Atletico Madrid, Diego Simeone, has said that his team is still not the favourite to lift the La Liga trophy this season.

Atletico has started its La Liga campaign fantastically well this season. They have won each and every La Liga game that they have played so far and are currently at no. 2 in the points table with 21 points in 7 games. They are behind Barcelona on the basis of goal difference.

Recently, Atletico won its first La Liga Madrid derby in the last 14 years by securing a 1-0 win over the local rivals Real Madrid.

Because of Atletico’s consistency so far in the season, the experts believe that they are the serious contenders for the La Liga title, but, Simeone doesn’t think so.

Talking to the reporters yesterday, the Atletico manager said, “We can’t start thinking about the title at this point of time. The season has just begun. There is a long way to go. We can’t let the complacency creep in. We need to be calm and collected and take one game at a time.”

“It’s not that we are winning because of one or two players. The whole team is contributing and that’s really nice. We are putting in hard work and are getting rewarded for that.”

Simeone has been the manager of Atletico since the last 20 months or so. He had joined the club in the middle of the 2011-12 Season.

The former Argentinean player has had quite a bit of success during his tenure at Atletico so far. The team has won some big trophies under him in the last couple of seasons including the Europa League, the UEFA Super Cup and the Copa Del Rey.

Under Simeone, Atletico has so far played 97 games out of which they have won 62.