Atlético Madrid suffered a last-minute defeat in Singapore on Monday night, as Diego Simeone’s youthful side battled back from a 2-0 deficit only to lose 3-2 to Paris Saint-Germain. Thomas Tuchel’s kids got the last laugh in the end, as 18-year-old Romanian forward Virgiliu Postolachi scored a lovely goal from distance in the 92nd minute. Atlético had rallied behind 17-year-old Victor Mollejo and an own goal created by Borja Garcés, but Simeone and co. will leave Singapore a little disheartened.
But Ángel Correa is one player who will feel emboldened after the two International Champions Cup games. Not only did he don the captain’s band during the opening match against Arsenal, he got himself a new shirt number prior to the PSG contest.
⚪️ @AngelCorrea32 cambia de dorsal y portará el '10' a la espalda esta temporada. El argentino se despide del '11', que lució en las dos últimas temporadas, en el duelo que estamos disputando ante el @PSG_espanol.— Atlético de Madrid (@Atleti) July 30, 2018
➡ https://t.co/T4UwaAmLtt #AúpaAtleti pic.twitter.com/OHMAgvnNIr
New arrival Thomas Lemar — who was introduced in Madrid earlier on Monday — will take Correa’s old #11. Elsewhere, Atlético announced that Lucas Hernández would wear the #21 shirt this season (as he does for World Cup winners France) and Diego Costa would don his familiar #19 in 2018/19.
Yet, it is the decision to hand Correa the #10 which is most interesting. That shirt number was rumored to go to Lemar once he arrived from Monaco, but Simeone has gone in a different direction and given it to a player who won his trust in 2017/18. Correa inherits a number which has on it a hex of sorts — the Argentine will be the fourth rojiblanco since 2015 to wear the number. The men before him:
- Arda Turan’s career never was the same after a poor 2014/15 season and subsequent disastrous move to Barcelona.
- Óliver Torres failed to match expectations in 2015/16 and completed a permanent move to Porto last summer.
- Yannick Carrasco was Atlético’s third-leading goalscorer in 2016/17, but he struggled to play for the team and a shocking first half in 2017/18 saw him moved on to Dalian Yifang in China.
What’s more, Correa isn’t an automatic starter in this team — at least in his preferred position as a forward. The 23-year-old could either move into a new role as Antoine Griezmann’s backup or continue to compete for a wide role with Vitolo and Lemar. The latter would make sense if Atleti are to move to a 4-3-3, but not so much if Simeone intends to set up more frequently with the three at the back.
Whatever the case, Correa getting the 10 is pretty fascinating and could make an already-deep attacking corps even more competitive internally.