Atlético forward Eduardo Salvio has promised to prove his worth to the club in the forthcoming campaign. The young Argentine has been coming under increased pressure following his recent performances in pre-season.
Salvio arrived at Atlético during last season’s winter transfer window from Lanús, and despite the high expectations from coaches and fans, he has yet to nail down a place in the first team.
His rojiblanco debut was delayed for several months last season due to fitness and injury problems, and he reportedly arrived back at training last month overweight. Despite these setbacks, Salvio remains confident and optimistic about his future with the team.
Speaking to Spanish based sportspaper AS, Salvio said “I really want to grow as a player and a person, and I want to be a starter and have a spot in the Atlético starting eleven.”
Hardly an easy feat considering Kun Agüero and Forlán are undoubtedly the first two names on the team sheet.
Salvio is primarily a striker, but can also play as a winger. At this point his most realistic chance of becoming a starter is to beat out Jurado, Mérida or Simão on one of the flanks.
The 20-year old’s performances during pre-season have been somewhat inconsistent and he was criticized heavily after the game versus Real Betis.
“Yes, a lot of things were said because I missed a goal or two, that Salvio isn’t adapting, that he isn’t mature enough, but I only really care about what the manager or my teammates have to say,” the young forward said.
“It bothers me that people doubt my abilities, but I shall triumph.” he continued, clearly excited about the arrival of the new season.
“We have to finish in the Champions League spots and fight to finish as high as possible in the league. Atlético always has to be at the top; we can’t finish where we did last season. The goal is to be at the top and win titles.”
There are a number of young players at the Vicente Calderón this season fighting for places, hoping to breakthrough like David de Gea, the young goalkeeper who surprised so many last season.
“He’s a sensational goalkeeper,” said Salvio. “His saves are incredible and he transmits a sense of security throughout the team.
“I get along well with everyone in the dressing room and it’s difficult to only talk about one. But if you ask me, I would tell you that I would pick Fran Mérida. I just recently met him, but he has surprised me both as a football player and as a person.
“But they are all very good and have incredible quality.”
It will be interesting to see how the rest of the pre-season plays out for Salvio. He is competing with the Brazilian Diego Costa for one of the final non-EU spots on the squad list.
Atlético coach Quique Sanchez Flores is having to act quickly and make a decision on which three players without European passports make it onto the final squad list.
A decision will likely depend on the arrival of Diego Godín from Villarreal, who has reportedly just applied for Spanish citizenship.