With a critical stretch of matches on the horizon, Atlético will have to make do without their chief playmaker Diego.
Atleti’s official website confirmed on Monday that the Brazilian midfielder, who had to be helped off the Molinón pitch by members of the team’s medical staff on Sunday, suffered a “ruptured right quadriceps” that will keep him sidelined for a month.
The player himself reaffirmed the bad news through his Twitter account and lamented the timing of the knock.
“Worse than the physical pain is the mental pain of leaving the team during such an important part of the season,” Diego wrote.
“Thanks for the support.”
The blow will prevent the 26-year-old from taking part in upcoming matches against Lazio, Barcelona and Sevilla, our Europa League round of 16 home and away fixtures (should we qualify past Lazio), and up to three additional league games.
Rojiblanco youth product Koke is almost certain to see an expanded role in our midfield, while Arda Turan, if healthy, may also be deployed in a more central position and be tasked with orchestrating our attack.
The latest reports out of Spain suggested Arda would be doubtful for Lazio’s visit to Madrid on Thursday however, and it’s unclear as to what his status is expected to be for when we host Barça on Sunday.
Veteran midfielder Tiago is fully recovered and at coach Diego Simeone’s disposal, while Antonio López has not been declared fit to train with the rest of the squad yet.
Falcao, Godin and Filipe all avoided yellow cards against Sporting
A side story throughout our match against Sporting was our fear of striker Radamel Falcao, and to a lesser degree, defenders Diego Godín and Filipe Luís, seeing their respective fifth yellow cards during the game, which would have impeded them from playing against Barcelona because of suspension.
Fortunately, all three avoided a booking and will be available for the Blaugrana’s visit.
We should keep in mind though, that we will travel to Sevilla the following weekend, so the trio should once again be on their best behaviour Sunday.