Hello to mattress makers worldwide! Welcome to another Weekly Rojiblanco.
It’s hard to believe we’re into the final month of the season, but Atlético Madrid still have a ton to play for thanks to their Europa League semifinal victory over Arsenal yesterday. You can catch the full write up of that match here. Atlético will square off against Marseille at Parc Olympique Lyonnais on May 16 — just 12 days from now.
Meanwhile, in LaLiga, Atleti have just three matches remaining to hold back that other Madrid team, so every point will matter. Exciting stuff. Now for the news.
- UEFA confirm Simeone touchline ban
Staying with the Europa League for a minute, UEFA confirmed Friday morning that Diego Simeone cannot take charge of his rojiblancos in any of the team’s next four matches in European competition. That includes the Marseille match and at least two group stage fixtures in next season’s Champions League (plus the UEFA Super Cup if Atlético make it there). The ban comes after Simeone cursed out referee Clement Turpin early in the first leg against Arsenal — Cholo objected to Turpin sending off Šime Vrsaljko and got sent to the stands himself.
The club will appeal the decision but it will almost certainly come too late for Simeone to be in the dugout in Lyon.
- Oblak clinches the Zamora—sort of
If the season ended today Jan Oblak would be taking home his third straight Ricardo Zamora Trophy—awarded to the keeper with the lowest goals-to-games ratio in LaLiga. Oblak has conceded just 18 goals in 35 matches for a ratio of 0.51.
Curiously, since Oblak has met the minimum requirements for consideration for the award, all he has to do is sit out the final three games of the season and he is guaranteed the award. With work still to be done on the season, it seems unlikely that he will do so, but the award is his to lose.
Should Oblak go on to win the award this year, he would become the 11th player all time to win the award three times. Former Barcelona keepers Antoni Ramallets and Victor Valdés top the list with 5 wins each.
- Godin on Griezmann
Atlético defender Diego Godín provided an interesting sound bite during press conferences this week when asked about Antoine Griezmann’s future.
“We don’t know, we’ve got no idea — I don’t even think he knows. We’re hoping he’ll be with us for a long time to come. He’s under contract with Atlético de Madrid and hopefully he will continue developing here with us, and bringing us lots of happiness.”
There is nothing groundbreaking here, but Godín’s statements do seem to confirm legitimate uncertainties centering on the French forward’s future. Further, he makes it clear how the team feels about Griezmann, who has not allowed rampant speculation to sour his relationship with his teammates as sometimes happens in these situations.
Hopefully, playing meaningful football into May will inspire Griezmann to stay the course with Atleti.
- Atleti angling for Celta defender
According to reports, the club is in negotiations to bring in Celta Vigo defender Jonny Otto during the summer transfer window. Sources for the rumor are a bit unclear but the 24-year-old would bring some youth, depth and versatility to a defensive unit that has had its ups and downs this season.
That’s all for now. Stay tuned for prematch coverage of the Espanyol game this Sunday.