Hey Atléticos, it’s time for a new Weekly Rojiblanco!
It’s derbi week for Atlético Madrid, with the battle for second place in LaLiga on the line. Given the high-stakes contest coming up on Sunday, much of the news cycle (and our content) is focused on the match. However, there is a handful of other stories worth noting.
- Simeone talks up Europa League
“On about what I prefer on my resume, I have to say that I will always choose the wins. It’s an important achievement to be runner-up in an important competition such as the Champions League but it’s always better to be the champion, that’s obvious.”
The suggestion that he will be more satisfied with a Europa League victory rather than recent finals defeats in the Champions League is an interesting one, and runs counter to the sentiments expressed by some players when the team crashed out of the UCL earlier this year.
However, in a way the stakes are much higher for Atlético and Simeone’s reputation. At the moment Atlético are runaway favorites to win the Europa League which means a defeat might be considered an embarrassment. This is a far cry from the impressive “overachieving” that saw Atleti play in two recent UCL finals against this weekend’s opponent.
It’s possible that a win for Simeone may be gratifying, but a loss at this point would be pretty humiliating.
- Koke’s notable goal
In addition to scoring the ultimate game winner in that first leg match with Sporting, Koke’s first minute strike was also the quickest Atlético have scored in the competition this year. That goal put Koke on a short list of players who have scored in the opening seconds in the Simeone era.
Goles del Atlético de Simeone en el primer minuto:— Pedro Martin (@pedritonumeros) April 5, 2018
15'' Óliver Torres (Betis 2013-14 Liga)
48'' Torres (Madrid 2014-15 Copa)
40'' Torres (Barça 2014-15 Copa)
39'' Griezmann (Málaga 2017-18 Liga)
22'' Koke (Sporting 2017-18 UEFA)
- Juanfran renewal imminent
Right back Juanfran made his intentions about the future abundantly clear in his press conference after the match Thursday.
“I’m going to continue at Atletico,” he told reporters. “All that is missing is the signature, which is going to be done shortly.”
Though it has been an up and down season for Juanfran—who is not getting any younger—his veteran leadership should remain an important piece of the puzzle for Atlético for at least the next season or two.
- Juve in for Griezmann
Finally: recent reports suggest that Italian giants Juventus have thrown their hat into the ring for Antoine Griezmann’s services.