Diego Godín hobbled towards the ball and stooped low to head it home on Saturday night to make sure Atlético Madrid secured all three points against Athletico Bilbao at the Wanda Matropolitano. But at what price? The Uruguayan is now almost certainly out for the top of the table game against Barcelona in two weeks time and will sit out for between three and four weeks.
Against Borussia Dortmund, Jose Gimenez suffered injury and was taken off at half-time before Lucas Hernandez was diagnosed with an injury after the game that would keep him out for a couple of weeks too.
For now, four of Simeone’s central defenders are in the infirmary with six players in total out along with Diego Costa, who recently suffered a leg injury in training with word on his recovery time not disclosed yet. Six of those seven players currently listed as injured for the rojiblancos are suffering from muscular injuries.
Profe Ortega, the notoriously tough physical trainer for Atletico, had less time to deal with players during the preseason with the World Cup and it’s certainly something that affects Simeone’s demanding style more than most. But while Atlético have suffered crises in the past, the situation this year is one drawn out emergency with players falling injured in every game.
“The turf at the Wanda is terrible,” Diego Costa said recently. “We can’t have a field that bad.” El Mundo reported that while nobody was willing to speak out as loudly as the outspoken Costa, plenty of voices in the dressing room are saying the same: ‘The field is deadly.”
The club will take advantage of the international break in order to rip up the surface at the Wanda Metropolitano and roll out a new one in its place. The players were not happy with the turf at the stadium and the plan is for Simeone’s side to train on it next week in order to get comfortable ahead of Barcelona’s visit to the capital and to make sure they are happy with it going forward according to Diario AS.
Rayo Majadahonda have played eight games on the field this season with Atletico playing the same number after a deal was struck for the Segunda side to play there until the new year, at which time their stadium will have been upgraded to fit criteria for the second tier of Spanish football.
Directors at the club are also considering not allowing any concerts or non-sporting activities to take place there for some time to allow the new turf to embed properly.
“Every team suffers injuries,” says Simeone. But the club are obviously concerned about the epidemic and are trying to rectify the causes.