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The Weekly Rojiblanco: El Derbi Madrileño Edition

A handful of tidbits heading into the weekend.

Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid - La Liga Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

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

Prior to his side’s victory over Sporting Clube de Portugal in the Europa League yesterday, manager Diego Simeone had this to say about the competition.

“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.

  • 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.