Twelve games into the new domestic campaign, Atlético Madrid look set for an important season, which could lift them back into European football.
Fernández’s side is currently battling out with Real Sociedad for second place in Liga Iberdrola, which is equivalent to the first place in a league without dominant Barcelona. The Catalans are already flexing their muscles with a perfect 36 points from 12 fixtures and a staggering +69 goal difference.
(For the record, Atlético have already lost 3-0 to this Barcelona team, with two late goals dashing Atleti’s hopes of a positive result.)
Atletico sit third on 24 points, trailing much-improved Real Sociedad by three points. La Real won the season’s first head-to-head meeting 1-0 via Nerea Eizagurre’s 93rd minute penalty.
Atlético rebounded following that defeat, securing a 3-0 win away at Eibar and a 2-1 triumph over regular contenders Levante last weekend. Amanda Tounkara and Barbara Latorre grabbed the goals in a crucial encounter.
In the last 10 league games, Atlético have recorded 18 points via five wins and three draws. The next run of games will see them face Sevilla, Real Betis and Athletic Club de Bilbao before they will launch the new year with a derby against Real Madrid.
The club is already focusing on strengthening the squad in an effort to return to the UEFA Women’s Champions League next season.
Highly-rated teenaged defender Hanna Lundkvist has signed a contract to June 2024 after making the switch to Madrid from Hammarby. The club also extended its marriage with Merel van Dongen, with the Dutch defender renewing her deal until 2024 as well.
“I feel very happy to sign with such a professional club and I am very excited to start,” Lundkvist told Atlético’s official website.
Van Dongen’s renewal has more moving parts and will see her take on an active role off the pitch. She will be more involved in Atlético Madrid’s activities as an ambassador for the club’s international projects, including an expansion of the academy’s global reach.
This position will enable van Dongen to oversee sporting development programmes relating to both the men’s and women’s teams. She will also network with international companies and sponsors that will boost Atlético’s profile and brand.
Another player who has decided to extend her stay at the club is young goalkeeper Paula Vizoso. The 20-year-old academy product is currently the third-choice goalkeeper behind Hedvig Lindahl and Lola Gallardo. Lindahl’s contract expires next summer, while Gallardo’s deal runs until 2023.
On the injury front, Argentine forward Estefania Banini has started her recovery from a serious knee injury following a successful surgery. The 31-year-old has been sidelined since the end of October.
To wrap up this recap, there is nothing better than some positive vibes from none other than the brave, inimitable Virginia Torrecilla. The Atlético midfielder and brain cancer survivor posted a new image in which she is donning the club’s colours. A return to the field might even happen in the near future, according to some Spanish reports.
We can’t wait to see Virginia back in action.