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Atlético Madrid-Athletic Club: Snowstorm postpones Saturday’s showdown

One of LaLiga’s oldest games will not go ahead as planned.

Cornella v Club Atletico de Madrid - Copa del Rey Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Update LaLiga has announced the game’s postponement due to inclement weather.

Given the exceptional situation caused by the storm across a large part of the Iberian peninsula, causing the closure of Madrid Barajas airport throughout the day, and the impossibility of having the pitch in optimal playing conditions, LaLiga, after contacting both clubs, have asked the Professional Competition Committee first thing this morning to postpone the match between Club Atletico de Madrid - Athletic Club.

A new match day and kickoff time will be confirmed in due course. Atlético will add another game in hand to its total and should be able to play Sevilla on Tuesday — the snowstorm is expected to finish wreaking its havoc on Sunday.

There is concern around the status of Atlético Madrid’s Saturday afternoon appointment with Athletic Club, as the Spanish capital readies itself for snowfall not seen in decades.

Atlético cut short outdoor training on Friday due to Storm Filomena, and Diego Simeone will not announce his matchday squad until Saturday morning.

“Yesterday, we were able to train in the cold and snow, but we were able to prepare for the game,” Simeone said Friday. “Today we could not, and we are looking for alternatives so that we can play in the best conditions.”

Atlético need a bounceback effort from its stars after Wednesday’s Copa del Rey capitulation at Cornellà. Atleti were humiliated in a second successive cup loss to a Segunda B side, but Simeone has tried to take the onus off his players through absorbing blame for the result and discussing his future.

“I’ve always said that they (club leadership) can kick me out tomorrow,” Simeone said.

“I am very happy at Atlético, we’re competing very well,” he continued. “We come from a year of transition to one where the team is much more forceful, consistent and balanced in the league.”

The rojiblancos (12-2-1, 38 points) will host an Athletic side (6-3-9, 21 points) under new management. Marcelino is back in town, and the ex-Sevilla, Villarreal, and Valencia boss oversaw a hard-fought 3-2 loss to Barcelona on Wednesday.

Athletic Club v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

“A tough game is coming against an opponent with a new coach, who has clear ideas,” Simeone said. “In all the teams he has coached, he has produced a great playing strategy, with personality. Athletic have important players, we saw it against Barça, where they played a very good game.”

If it is played, Saturday will be the 167th meeting between Atlético and the club from which it emerged in 1903. But the snowy conditions are unsafe for air travel — Athletic’s plane could not land in Madrid on Friday night and had to head back to Bilbao.

In the meantime, Simeone declared João Félix and José Giménez fit for action after ankle injuries saw them exit early from the loss at Cornellá. Cholo also refused to comment on the club’s search for a backup striker — which took another turn on Friday, with Marca among the sources reporting that Atlético are close to signing Lyon’s Moussa Dembélé on loan.

Date Jan. 9, 2021

Location Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid

Alleged kickoff time 4:15 p.m. CET, 3:15 p.m. GMT, 10:15 a.m. EST, 7:15 a.m. PST

Available TV/streaming Movistar LaLiga 1 (Spain), LaLiga TV (United Kingdom), beIN Sports (United States)