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Atlético Femenino seek fresh start after hiatus

Atlético’s ladies have contributed on and off the pitch during this trying time.

UEFA Women’s Champions League Portrait Shoots: Atletico Madrid
Amanda Sampedro, Ludmila and Silvia Meseguer, of Atletico Madrid pose during UEFA Women’s Champions League Portrait Shoot on January 30, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain.
Photo by David Ramos - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

March 1 seems ages ago.

Only a handful of weeks have passed in the meantime, but the hiatus due to the coronavirus has literally disrupted our timeframes.

That date marks Atlético Madrid Femenino’s most recent league game, a comfortable 3-0 win over Real Sociedad thanks to two goals from forward Ludmila and one from midfielder Amanda Sampedro.

As it stands, Atlético are second on 50 points, nine adrift of leaders Barcelona — who are in the driver’s seat to win Liga Iberdrola and end Atleti’s run of three straight titles.

Meanwhile, the team’s journey in the newly-reformed four-team Spanish Super Cup saw them succumb to Barcelona 3-2 in the semifinals in Salamanca — after which the Catalunya-based team went on to thrash Real Sociedad 10-1 in the final.

The Colchoneros did not fare any better in the Copa de la Reina, a competition in which they reached the final last season. Less than a week after the Supercopa defeat, Atlético were dumped out of the Copa by Real Betis following a penalty shoot-out — the match had gotten to that stage goalless.

To add insult to injury, the club also changed the coaching staff twice after Pablo Lopez — who replaced José Luís Sánchez Vera —was replaced by Dani González.

González is a former Atlético Madrid player, having featured for the club in the 1995/96 season. After hanging up his boots a decade ago, he joined the club’s academy, where he took on various roles. He already claimed an admittedly-minor piece of silverware after Atlético defeated Besiktas 2-0 in a Women’s Day friendly on March 7. Forwards Charlyn Corral and Olga Garcia grabbed the goals.

Marquee signing

United States collegiate sensation Deyna Castellanos grabbed the headlines when she chose Atlético as her first European club on Jan. 2.

Primera Iberdrola: Madrid CFF V Atletico De Madrid
Deyna Castellanos of Atletico de Madrid smiles prior to the Spanish League, Primera Iberdrola, women’s football match played between Madrid CFF and Atletico de Madrid at Matapinonera stadium on February 23, 2020 in Alcala de Henares, Spain.
Photo by Oscar J. Barroso / AFP7 / Europa Press Sports via Getty Images

The Venezuela international is just 20, but she has plenty of experience on her footballing CV already. Castellanos scored 47 goals in 77 games while at Florida State University and was nominated the FIFA Best and Puskas Awards in 2017.

At youth level, she won two South American Championships at U-17 and claimed the Golden Boot at the U-17 World Cup in 2014.

So far, the forward has played five games with the club and is still looking for her first goal.

Historic CBA

After sitting out for one weekend in strike, Liga Iberdrola’s players reached a deal on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with their respective clubs.

The deal, signed Jan. 15, sees a minimum salary of €16,000 established and a partiality of 75% (30 hours per week).

Quarantine time

Most incredibly, second captain Silvia Meseguer has volunteered to help out as a doctor at the IFEMA Convention Center in Madrid. The 31-year-old has almost finished her coursework for a degree in Medicine, and thus has been able offer her knowledge and immensely-valuable assistance in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

Generally, Atlético players are keeping in shape with individual exercises at home. Captain Sampedro also is dedicating her time to perfecting her cooking — primarily, a whole-grain spaghetti with a smoothie sauce, spinach and avocado, all garnished with cherry tomato and tuna belly.