It’s been another exciting year for los Rojiblancos, and despite the heartbreak suffered in the Champions League final, Atletico proved once again that they are no pushovers with victories over Bayern Munich and Barcelona throughout the campaign. Finishing 3rd in La Liga was slightly disappointing considering how close Atleti came to winning the league towards the end but the fact they were only four points away from being crowned champions is an achievement in itself. Let’s look at the strikers that were given the responsibility of pushing for a second league title in three years and see just how valuable their contributions were:
Antoine Griezmann 9/10: There’s not a lot you can say about Griezmann’s season other than pointing out he scored 32 goals in 53 appearances. The Frenchman was in sensational form throughout the campaign, with the second half eeing him hit the back of the net a stunning 19 times. The 25-year-old relishes the big moments as well, a good omen for the upcoming Champions League final, with goals coming against the European giants of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. These sort of tense and nervy matches don’t affect Griezmann, if anything he embraces them, and despite his costly miss from the spot in the Champions League final, he was still one of Atleti's liveliest players.
Fernando Torres 6.5/10: This may seem a little harsh considering El Nino’s fine return to the striker he once was but his dreadful first half of the season can’t be ignored. At the time, he was vying for a starting position with the likes of Jackson Martinez and Luciano Vietto. That he was unable to outperform either of these two sums up the first few months of the year for Torres. Fortunately for him, his finish to the campaign corresponded with Atleti’s fantastic ending of the season. Torres went on to score 10 goals in his final 19 appearances, where he also grabbed 3 assists. The Spanish international’s partnership with Koke was a key feature of his return to form, with the creative midfielder responsible for 5 of Torres’ goals. The Atletico icon is expected to be rewarded for his late season contributions with a new two-year contract and if his recent performances are anything to go by, we should see a more consistent Torres next year.
Jackson Martinez…..Ehhhh….let’s move on, shall we?
Luciano Vietto 4/10: The expectations were high for the young Argentinian when he signed from Villarreal last summer for a fee of €20m but he has failed to live up to these standards. His lone goal in the league this campaign came in a 1-1 draw with Real Madrid way back in October. There’s still hope for the 22-year-old, with improvements over the summer and a decreased amount of pressure now that he’s not one of the newest players at the club, possibly leading to an improved season next year. His talent is obvious from his time at Villarreal where he scored 20 goals during the 2014-15 campaign though it might not be enough for Atleti to keep him around for at least another year.
Angel Correa 6/10: I wrote about Correa’s impressive impact off the bench a couple of weeks ago and nothing has happened since to change my opinion on the 21-year-old. His energy and tenacity are two admirable traits with his knack for scoring goals off the bench, such as the recent game winner in the 1-0 victory over Malaga, adding to his extraordinary debut season in La Liga. Despite making the majority of his appearances off the bench, he’s chipped in with 8 goals in all competitions with 5 of them coming in the domestic league. We can expect to see more of Correa next season and it should make it easier for us to grasp just how good he can be but for now, Simeone and co. must be pleased with the signing they made.