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Atletico readjustment

apparently ruled out Cristiano Ronaldorushed by the salary mass of its staff and pressured by the economic limit of LaLiga Santander, the eleventh project of Diego Simeon at Atlético de Madrid represents a readjustment to the current reality of the rojiblanco club, with the signings of Nahuel Molina and Axel Witsel, the returns of Álvaro Morata, Saúl Ñíguez and Ivo Grbic, an impressive preseason and the demand to compete with everyone and for everything this season.

Still pending the closing of the recruitment period, subject as always until the last minute of the last day to market supply and demand, are the five new additions to the squad, from which four footballers have emerged (goal scorer Luis Suarez, Hector Herrera, Sime Vrsaljko and Benjamin Lecomte, all due to the end of their respective contracts) compared to last year and in which the coach holds the entire base and responsibility.

“A lot of self-criticism, as always. Inside, I have no doubt that self-criticism is harder than what you (the media) do in daily opinion, because we want to win and because the club’s objective is to be in the Champions League , but Our goal is to be champions. That’s what we want”Diego Simeone emphasized at the end of last year, the tenth consecutive with him without moving from the LaLiga podium.

Just that is no longer enough. A winning team, which has been LaLiga champion twice (nothing else he has won the competition against Real Madrid and Barcelona in the last 18 years), has won another six titles (one Copa del Rey, two Europa Leagues, one Spanish Super Cup and two European ones), has played two Champions League finals, although the last one is already far away (2016) at the speed football, and has not missed a single time since 2012 to the highest European tournament.

An improved template

Atlético has improved its squad in the market. He has been strengthened without weakening compared to the team that finished third last season, thanks to that League of 14 in which he achieved nine wins as a result of the defeat against Levante in the then Wanda Metropolitano and now Cívitas Metropolitano. He also reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League. And they failed in both the Spanish Super Cup and the Copa del Rey, disappointingly eliminated by Athletic Club and Real Sociedad, respectively.

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Marco Moreno, the last youth squad to debut

Javier G. Gomara

Marco Moreno had his first minutes with Atlético de Madrid against Juventus.

He has only invested money this summer in Nahuel Molina, transferred from Udinese. Not only does it cover the void left six months ago by the departure of Kieran Trippier on the right side (later, this summer Sime Vrsaljko also left), but at the same time, perhaps even more importantly, it frees again Mark Llorente to play in the positions where he is much more decisive, inside, on the right or even as an attacker, with the influence he has on him and the team: in 2020-21, when Atlético was LaLiga champion, he scored twelve goals and he gave eleven to his companions; in 2021-22 he did not score any goals.

To the central midfield (he is also an alternative as a central defender, judging by the entire preseason) comes Axel Witzel, Free from Dortmund at the age of 33. A specific footballer, with 742 games as a professional, for a position that has been up and down for decades. That’s where he came from Hector Herrera. and there it comes back Saul Niguezafter his unsuccessful adventure at Chelsea, although the versatility of the youth squad, sometimes indefinitely, proposes him in various demarcations, but, today, above all as an option for the left lane.

has also returned Alvaro Morata, while the interest of Juventus persists, in which he has played on loan for the last two seasons. The top scorer for the Spanish national team left through the back door two years ago to open a space in the team for Luis Suarez. Now it’s the other way around. The Uruguayan striker left, the differential factor of the champion in 2020-21 and who ended his contract on June 30, after his decline in the scheme of Simeone, and the man from Madrid has arrived, incontestable in the last two summer duels, with four goals. And he is running as a starter for the start of the League in the lead along with joao felix.

The other variation is Ivo Grbic, below expectations in the campaign that was to consolidate him at Lille and again as a substitute for Jan Oblak, the undisputed owner of Atlético’s goal, renewed until 2028 and essential for the rojiblanco team, who longed for their best version last season, like that of all their teammates. Because, with few exceptions, each of them are better than they showed in 2021-22.

The challenge of Griezmann, Joao, De Paul…

The Atlético squad, varied, highly competitive and with at least two men for each position, is of the highest level. There is no debate when they mention, one by one, apart from Oblak, footballers like joao felixbefore the final exam, facing the pressure of the maximum expectation that promotes his talent, his qualities and his determination, in his fourth year already in the rojiblanco team.

EITHER Antoine Griezmann, to the reunion with himself, after the muscle injuries that reduced him during the past year, in his second loan exercise from Barça. If he plays 50 percent of the games he’s available for SimeoneAtlético will have to pay 40 million euros to the Barça club as a transfer in June.

Matheus Cunha, whose convincing presentation last season places him in a much more leading role in this one; Angel Strap, who has not moved from Atlético, and Morata complete the list of five strikers for two positions that Simeone has. Except for a new and unforeseen turn, it will not include Cristiano Ronaldooffered this summer to the club, which neither denied nor admitted their attraction to him… And then, suddenly, he discarded it.

also follow Yannick Carrasco, key in the current Atlético, either in the left lane of the 3-5-2 or as a winger in the 4-4-2, in the tremendous competition for three or four places in midfield: Axel Witsel, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Koke Resurrection, Marcos Llorente, Thomas Lemar -renewed until 2027-, Saul Ñiguez and Rodrigo de Paul -disappointing in his first season, he needs to be much more like the midfielder that Atlético signed to Udinese in the current one-, with the addition that Correa, Griezmann or Joao They can also play for any of the bands, as Simeone has already used them on several occasions.

Defense is more defined: Stefan Savic, Jose Maria Gimenez Y Reinildo Mandava They start with the advantage of the confidence of the Argentine coach for the center of defense, if it is a 3-5-2, or for the left back, in the case of the Mozambican international, whose impact on Atlético has been enormous, after his signing in the past month of January, if it is a line of four. Like Nahuel Molina on the right side.

The rear is complemented by Philip Monteirorenewed one year; Mario Hermoso, Renan Lodi and Daniel Wass, who can also play as a midfielder… And as a right central defender. There he has played in a remarkable way during the preseason, for more doubts that persist about his continuity.

A squad of 23 players (one more than the previous season), still subject to the market, in which they have no place Samuel Lino (signed to Gil Vicente and transferred to Valencia) and with which Diego Simeone intends to compete to be champion of each of the competitions he faces. At the moment, his preseason is aiming very high: 0-4 against Numancia, 0-1 against Manchester United, 1-4 against Cádiz and 0-4 against Juventus. Four wins, thirteen goals for and only one against. Next Monday awaits the competition in Getafe.

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