As if Atlético Madrid needed another boost:
This is basically how I feel now:
So, yes, Tiago Mendes is back. The Portuguese midfielder broke his leg on Nov. 28 during a 1-0 home win over Espanyol but has rejoined the team at this most crucial stage of the season. La Liga is still up for grabs over the next two weeks, and of course, Atlético will partake in another Champions League final against Real Madrid at the end of the month. With this news, Atleti have now a fully fit team - an incredible rarity at this stage in a season and a far cry from the team's late-season fitness levels the past two seasons.
The 35-year-old may be good to go but it is unknown what role he will play over the next few weeks. I wrote about this in March and the situation hasn't changed much; Saúl Ñíguez is still awesome, Koke is among the top assists men in the league and Gabi's leadership and work rate have been pivotal into the business end of the campaign. Diego Simeone cannot drop any of them. Yannick Carrasco has played quite well off the bench recently and it is feasible that he will remain a super sub for the season's final three games. For me, the only way Tiago starts is if Simeone decides to split his reps with Augusto Fernández (who played poorly Tuesday). Otherwise, he will appear off the bench and provide incalculable value to a dressing room still gunning for the double.
Good to have you back, maestro.