What one hand giveth, the other taketh away.
While Jan Oblak stuck a big paw out to deny Zouhair Feddal in the second minute of Atlético Madrid’s match against Real Betis, Filipe Luís also stuck out a hand in the 65th minute to give away Sergio Canales’ game-winning penalty.
This was the left-back’s first match back in six weeks, following a hamstring injury, so there was always going to be some rustiness. But his handball was the kind of brain freeze that a 33-year-old defender shouldn’t ever commit. It was a mental error. It had nothing to do with his hamstrings.
Some will wonder what the player — who, it should be pointed out, later apologised — was thinking in that exact moment. Clear the danger? Start a counter attack? A transfer to Juventus? A contract with Paris Saint-Germain? A move back home to Brazil?
It’s no secret that the Brazilian has been considering his future over the past few months, having been close to a transfer to Paris in the summer only for nothing to come to fruition since the links came far too late in the summer. It’s also no secret that he was upset at being forced to stay in the Spanish capital.
“The opportunity to go to PSG came up and I asked Atlético to free me the same way they did with Gabi, but they didn’t consider the situation to be the same,” he complained while on international duty in September.
Filipe continued to speak about his future options during the January transfer window.
“My plan when I returned from Chelsea was to retire here at Atlético, as I was 30 years old and had a contract that would run until the age of 33 or 34, after which I hoped to renew for two or three more years,” he told Globoesporte. “But a lot of things happen in football and Atlético have a policy, in speech marks, of renewing just one year at a time those players who are over 30. Yet they signed Nikola Kalinić at 31 years of age for four years and they gave long-term contracts to myself and to Diego Godín when we were 30.”
He went on in that interview to speak about his preference to stay in Europe if he does leave the capital club, while also saying it would be a dream to play for a top Brazilian club, even namedropping Flamengo, Corinthians and Sao Paulo.
Of course it’s logical that the player would be thinking about his future and he can legally start negotiating with other clubs, given that his current deal expires in June. But for now, it’s time to turn the focus back to football. There’s a Madrid derby coming up, a title race to cling onto and a crunch Champions League tie against Juventus. This may have been Filipe Luís’ least impactful season in red and white and it would be a shame if it taints his rojiblanco legacy. There’s still time to add to it.