Happy Monday, Atléticos, and welcome to another edition of the Daily Rojiblanco. After a humdrum final weekend of preseason friendlies we’re finally looking down the barrel of Atlético Madrid’s first league match, away to Girona this Saturday. Be sure to check in throughout the week for previews of that fixture and the upcoming season. For now, let’s take a look back at the weekend that was.
- Youngster debuts for Atleti. While the final fixture of the preseason was a mostly dull 1-0 victory over Leganés, the match did see the debut of some exciting young prospects, including 16-year-old striker Víctor Mollejo. Mundo Deportivo report that he is the first player born in the 21st century to debut for Atlético’s first team, which really makes me feel old.
The victory over Leganés - authored by a goal from canterano Juan Moreno - wraps up an unbeaten preseason for Atlético. Atleti finished with three wins and three draws following the 0-0 draw at Getafe and the win over Leganés. Despite concerns over Diego Simeone’s defense, his men conceded just four times in six games, but the attack still needs polish after a return of seven goals in six.
- Rumor mill churning around Griezmann exit. Despite his earlier declaration of intent to stay at Atlético, rumors are starting to bubble up about a possible exit for Antoine Griezmann, with Manchester United and Barcelona mooted as possible destinations for the striker. Concerns about the possible exit of Jan Oblak for Paris Saint-Germain and the inability to bring Diego Costa back to the club have been cited as possible reasons for the Frenchman’s misgivings about remaining with los colchoneros. As yet, there is little to back up these rumors, but they are concerning nonetheless.
- Diego Costa continues to agitate for Atleti return. In a lengthy, in-depth interview with the Daily Mail, Chelsea exile Diego Costa discusses his prolonged stand-off with the London club while reiterating his desire to return to Atlético.
- Villarreal to join Vietto chase. Reports out of Southampton suggest that Villarreal have joined the Saints in their pursuit of Luciano Vietto. Despite a somewhat productive loan spell at Sevilla last season, it has become clear that Simeone does not see a future for the Argentine in Madrid and would like to offload him permanently, and his former club Villarreal are an option.
- Work on the Wanda Metropolitano is progressing. A recent report from the club indicates that all general admission seating in the new stadium has been installed. Further, additional images of the construction show a nearly complete roof and other promising signs of progress.
- Talking Point: Yesterday the league website released a video of the top bicycle kicks in its history, including a handful of wonder goals from colchoneros past and present. What is your all time favorite strike from an Atleti player? Let us know in the comments.