Atlético Madrid’s bitterly disappointing Champions League season will end in Porto on Tuesday — but whether the team will continue competing in the UEFA Europa League in 2023 is still to be decided.
Atlético’s group stage elimination, as well as Porto’s spot in the last 16, was confirmed last week after the Portuguese shelled Club Brugge in Belgium just a few hours before Bayer Leverkusen held on for a draw at the Metropolitano.
If Atleti win in Porto on Tuesday, Leverkusen’s result in Germany against Brugge will be inconsequential. But if the Rojiblancos draw or lose at the Dragão, they could finish bottom of Group B and face a second half of the season without European football for the first time in 15 years.
“The objective is to keep thinking about the club and return to the Champions League next season, which is the goal every year,” Diego Simeone told the media on Monday. “To do this, we have to work hard and not leave the ‘game by game’ mentality.”
Local reports say João Félix’s two-goal performance against Cádiz has helped him earn a spot in Tuesday’s 11 — it would be the ex-Porto academy player’s first start since Sept. 18. Álvaro Morata (ankle injury) has been included in the squad after a collision with Cádiz defender Momo Mbaye knocked him out of Saturday’s game after just 10 minutes. Marcos Llorente remains unavailable as he is not fully recovered from a hamstring injury.
Meanwhile, Morata and Llorente’s former Real Madrid teammate Sergio Reguilón could make his Atlético debut on Tuesday. The left-back joined in the summer on a dry loan from Tottenham, but a groin operation left him sidelined through the season’s first two months.
“There are always things to improve. You even have to improve when you win, because at the level at which we’re competing, you can’t settle,” Rodrigo de Paul said Monday. “We will work for it as always, and this will surely turn out to be a great year for us.”
Descubre los jugadores que conforman la lista de Simeone para el FC Porto-Atleti. pic.twitter.com/iACISo4Wyj— Atlético de Madrid (@Atleti) October 31, 2022
Date Nov. 1, 2022
Location Estádio do Dragão, Porto, Portugal
Kickoff time 6:45 p.m. CET, 5:45 p.m. GMT, 1:45 p.m. EST, 10:45 a.m. PST
Available TV/streaming Paramount+ (United States), Movistar+ (Spain), BT Sport 1 (United Kingdom), Stan Sport (Australia)