Atlético have been drawn to play against Italian side S.S. Lazio in the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League.
Additionally, should we progress, we will face either Braga or Beşiktaş in the following round.
The first leg is scheduled for February 16th in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, with the return match taking place in the Calderón a week later.
Runners-up in Group D, Lazio present one of the tougher tests that we could have faced in the draw. They currently sit 4th in Serie A, two points adrift of leaders Juventus.
So far they have lost just twice in the league, and are unbeaten away from home with an impressive five wins so far.
However, the Biancocelesti were unable to win any of their away matches in the Europa League group stages, losing at Sporting and drawing with Zürich and Vaslui.
Managed by Edoardo Reja, the Romans saw a major overhaul of players during the summer. The likes of Mauro Zarate, Fernando Muslera and Stephane Lichtsteiner all departed, but they made 9 signings including Miroslav Klose, Federico Marchetti, Djibril Cissé and Abdoulay Konko.
The last time the two sides met was in the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup in 1998. Lazio edged los Colchoneros 1-0 on aggregate, winning the first leg in front of a packed Vicente Calderón.
Later on that year, Christian Vieri left Atleti to join the Italian side.
This time around, the red and whites are likely to be considered slight favourites, and have the advantage of playing the return leg at home.
As mentioned above, the winners will face Braga or Besiktas in the last 16, which could mean a return to Madrid for either Simão or loanee Fran Mérida. Facing his former club if we draw Os Arsenalistas will be Sílvio, who also happen to be Pizzi’s parent club.
Unfortunately for Atlético or Lazio, they will have to play that tie first as the home team.
What are your thoughts on the draw? How do you see our chances in the tournament?