Everybody knows that Atlético Madrid have been the favourite plaything of the injury gods this season, especially the club’s defenders. José María Giménez has been affected more than most, as the injury gods have spent so much of the season pinching and prodding at their Giménez voodoo doll’s hamstrings.
The 24-year-old suffered yet another issue during the 1-0 victory over Eibar on Saturday—this time an impact injury as he dislocated a toe. Despite this, the Uruguayan played through the pain for the final 70 — yes, seventy! — minutes and did his part to help his side to a victory.
Aware of his side’s lack of alternative options at the centre-back position, with Stefan Savić injured and Lucas Hernández already in Munich, Giménez understood the importance of his presence and carried on. That was tough. That was brave.
The Atlético doctors have to be concerned, though. Giménez has also suffered issues with his hamstrings and calves. It was even suggested in November that he has one leg longer than the other and that this had been contributing to his muscle issues, but Atleti denied this. They even pointed out that there are no medical studies correlating such a condition with increased risk of injury, never mind the fact that Giménez’s legs are the same length.
Even with that issue put to bed, it’s still true that Giménez does seem more injury-prone than many others. This year has been something of a freak season in terms of the number of injuries suffered by Diego Simeone’s squad, but Giménez has previous. He has missed over 40 matches as a result of 15 different injuries since arriving at the club in 2013, so there is certainly something going on there. Diego Godín, by comparison, has only missed 30 matches at Atlético through injury and he has been at the club three years longer than his compatriot.
So is it the case that Giménez is fragile? It seems strange to say considering how he is such a strong and fearless warrior on the pitch, but yes, that might be the case.
Being fragile, though, doesn’t mean that he isn’t also tough. You see, Giménez is both. He is a player more likely to be injured than most others, but he is also the player most likely to battle through the pain to sacrifice himself for his team. That’s what he did on Saturday at Ipurua and it helped los colchoneros earn a vital three points in the race for second place.