Hindsight can so often be perfect vision and while it’s an easy thing to say after the fact, Kevin Gameiro is going about endearing himself to Atletico Madrid fans early and with plenty of rigour.
“It’s more probable that I would have stayed in Sevilla than go to Barca,” he told L’Equipe recently and believes he has been brought into Diego Simeone’s side for sporting reasons.
“He [Simeone] told me he was looking for a player like me, who was capable of providing strength in defence as well as attack. Simeone wanted someone who could blend in with the group.”
While Diego Simeone’s demands off his players have moved into the realm of the cliche, it does not take away from the fact that there is truth behind the cliche, regardless of how sick we might be of hearing it.
Atletico have added a player who is fast, mobile, willing to sacrifice himself for the team, and is brave. If Cholo put an advert in the newspaper in search of a player, it might read something like this. WANTED: Football player willing to sacrifice himself for the team, needs to be fast, mobile and brave. Time-wasters need not apply.
Amongst other things, Kevin Gameiro is talking the talk too and while that will matter for little if he scores two goals and drifts from Simeone’s plans during the course of the season, it means something now and he has his teammates and the fans ears.
While Barcelona are not THE enemy (that title is reserved for Real Madrid) they are still a major obstacle in Atletico’s plans to dominate next year in Europe and on the largest country on the Iberian Peninsula. Saying he chose Atletico over Barcelona for whatever reason is something that is very important to a team who are constantly battling for the number three spot in La Liga.
“[Atlético] was, more than anything, a sporting option. My agents informed me of offers at a more attractive financial level, but I wanted to stay in Spain.”
Gameiro didn’t want to join Barcelona because he knew he would not get to play, Diego Simeone has no interest in someone who just wants to make up the numbers and in the fiery little Frenchman, he has a player who might just be the answer to the question Diego Costa posed as he landed in London two summers ago.