Atlético in Cairo for money-spinning friendly

Rojiblancos invited to celebrate Zamalek's 100 year anniversary

Atlético players and staff pose for team photo  (

Atlético players and staff pose for team photo

It may have gone unnoticed by some in the midst of our worrisome recent form, but Atlético are currently in Egypt to play a celebratory friendly on Thursday against Cairo-based side Zamalek.

Kick-off is scheduled for 8:00 PM local time in the Cairo International Stadium, or 19:00 CET.

The Rojiblancos are set to rake in €300,000 for the trip, which comes during a crisis period for the club in which both players and management are under scrutiny.

Led by José Luis Caminero and Clemente Villaverde, Atleti touched down in the Egyptian capital yesterday, and have so far spent their time visiting attractions such as the Pyramids of Giza.

It was hardly Beatlemania, but the players did stop to take pictures and sign autographs for the locals, who club directors will probably hope have not been keeping track of our results of late.

Gregorio Manzano brought a squad of 17 along, with some fans suggesting that the game provides him a lifeline due to his important role in promotional activities.

Unavailable to the under fire manager are Radamel Falcao, Luis Amaranto Perea, Arda Turan, Sílvio, Thibaut Courtois, Diego Godín and Koke, who are away with their respective national teams.

Captain Antonio López stayed behind in Madrid after undergoing surgery on Tuesday. López will reportedly be sidelined for about three weeks.

Also excluded from the trip was Milinko Pantic’s Atleti B squad, who continue their quest for the play-offs this weekend.

However, one player who did travel is teenager Javier Manquillo, who plays for Atlético’s Juvenil A Team. The 17-year-old is a Spanish youth international, and will offer cover at right-back if needed.

José Antonio Reyes is in contention, with rumours of a return to boyhood club Sevilla hot in the Spanish media today. The game could give us more of an insight into his frosty relationship with Manzano.

Along with Diego, la Perla was one of the players chosen to appear in a press conference ahead of the game.

“We’ll play a serious game and try to win, it is not a friendly for us,” he said.

Álvaro Domínguez also spoke to the media upon arrival yesterday, and suggested that the clash could provide a welcome escape for the team.

“We are working to improve,” said the 22-year-old.

“This trip may help us to re-think, to be together, united.”

Our opponents are using the occasion to mark their 100 year anniversary and will look to inflict yet more misery on the red and whites in order to make the most of their celebrations.

Currently fifth in the Egyptian Premier League, the Ultras White Knights were in action as recently as Tuesday, beaten 2-1 at home by Ittihad El-Shorta.

When finished in Cairo, Atlético will return to Madrid and begin preparation for the next league fixture. High-flying Levante visit the Calderón after the break in a game that we simply must win.

Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Joel, Asenjo
Defenders: Filipe, Domínguez, Miranda, Pulido, Manquillo
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Tiago, Salvio, Reyes, Assunção, Gabi, Juanfran, Diego
Forwards: Adrián, Pizzi

  • 92

    I’m really looking forward to see Javi Manquillo playing, I’m so happy for him, and it’s nice to see a young player like him traveling, spending time and training with the first team, I really hope he plays and I wish him the best of luck and a great debut with the first team.

  • 92

    Btw, did you guys knew he came from Real Madrid juvenil?, I’m also happy he made the best decision for his football career and his life, leaving Real Madrid for us, it’s nice he didn’t fall in bad steps!.

  • Mais

    anyone know if this match will be broadcasted?

  • Flo

    La Otra shows it in Spain. Maybe you can see it on but I’m not a 100% sure.

  • starvs

    I got the FREE KOKE t-shirt samples in today. Quite happy with how they turned out. Just need to get my hands on a good camera and I’ll have some pictures for you; and a purchase link.

  • 92

    Rafinha Alcântara, the younger sibling of Thiago, made his debut with Barça’s first team today againts L’Hospitalet in a 1-0 hardworking victory, with Rafinha, that makes 3 players Guardiola has debuted this season, the other 2 are Isaac Cuenca and the promising Gerard Deulofeu, I know that’s totally irrelevant to this note, but I would like Atleti to debut more players like Barça, this season, I would like Javi Manquillo, Fer, Collado, N’Doye, Pedro or Saul to make their debuts, that would be awesome.

  • atletisrael

    Totally relevant 92, I think this is the right way to go as well (although I hate Barca even more then Real).

    I am thinking hard of crossing the border to Egypt. Thing is situation there is not the safest right now (especially for Israelis like me :). Don’t worry though I’m sure the players’ security arrangement will prove themselves.

    I think there is one player who needs to prove himself. Reyes would probably be playing today due to missing first team members. The talent has one last chance and should take it or will be surely on the way out in January.

  • JohnGreece

    Instead of arranging a training session to improve our game,we go for holidays.One more year battling for mid table positions and atletico’s directors seem to have no idea what’s happening.

  • starvs

    Oh they know what’s happening John, they are getting paaaaaaiiiiiiidddddd.

  • 92

    Agreed John, we could’ve arrange a sparring session with the B and C teams just like Villarreal, or we could’ve instead play againts Villarreal, Betis or any other Spanish team, although this isn’t a bad idea considering we only have 15 regular players available, i’m excluding Pulido and Manquillo since they aven’t debut yet this season, once again Atleti’s main bosses prioritize money over sporting success, but as I said, I think it’s nice for new players like Javi Manquillo and Pulido (who isn’t a regular player) to spend time and train with the first team, and I hope (at least for this match) that Manquillo and Pulido play and convince Manzano that he can count on them at least until he is the Atleti coach.

  • 92

    @atletisrael, yeah man, I think it’s best for you to NOT cross the the border to Egypt!, instead you can watch the game online, it would be safer!, btw which team do you support in Israel?, I think Israeli Football is growing apace, specially the Israeli League, it is getting very competitive, so hopefully in the future Israel qualifies to the Euro or the World cup, and shows what they’ve got.

  • DavidSF

    @atletisrael- Off topic-

    But did you go to the Maccabiah Games in 2005? My former enemy at club level (he played for Irvine Strikers) went to play in the games along with Benni Feilhaber.

    If so? How is it set up the Maccabiah Games. Olympic Style or?

  • 92

    emergency alert!, Falcao has been reported injured and it’s not gonna feature againts Venezuela and it’s doubtful if he is gonna be fit to face Argentina, now, that sucks, hopefully he recovers on time to face Levante, because we’re gonna need him.

  • 92

    Btw, if Neymar rejected both Madrid and Barca, he did it because he was gonna join Atleti???!!!, I know I know, that’s not gonna happen but what do you guys think of this?!
    So what if all those trips to Brazil Pitarch did was to sign Neymar secretly?!, now this would be the new of the year!.

  • Palestine-atleti

    I was in cairo since 10 days and just a note it is very safe place nothing to worry about… What you don’t know (atletisrael) that the egyptian people are very peacefull and mature especially after there great revolution… FREE PALESTINE 🙂

  • I’m from Egypt and supporting El Zamalek as well , ok first all of you must know that Zamalek won torphies more than Atleitco Madrid or whatever it’s written.

    Shikabala y2olko eh eh kos am aboko kolkom eh eh
    Welcome To Egypt

  • Mais

    Too bad u had to be proven wrong Palestine-atleti ^

  • Palestine-atleti

    What i said is 100% true… Congrats atleti fans i am impressed with salvio in this game. FREE PALESTINE

  • Egygirl

    @atletisrael: as usual another Israeli having to make it all about him and Israel. Egypt is pretty safe and we have tourists even during the revolution no one is touched as for haters like you well we welcome all but Israelis are not liked bec of their crimes in Palestine, end occupation, respect others and no one will have a problem w u. BTW, Israel has been having demonstrations themselves, mosques and churches get attacked a lot of times & this is besides the criminal acts against Palestinians, talking abt safety, wt a joke.

  • 7th

    hey guys, leave the politics out of this side.