Then. We. Win. Big. Then. We. Win. HUGE. Super Champions of Europe. We celebrate. Then.
Falcao’s dad talks. Why? I don’t know. But he does. And. He pisses us off. Falcao talks. Why? Because he’s awesomeness incarnate.
And then, he makes us smile again.
We. WAIT. And. Wait…
…until, finally! The weekend has arrived and two weeks removed from our colossal victory in Monaco, the Vicente Calderón will welcome our Supercampeones as they take on neighbours and strategic business partners Rayo Vallecano Sunday night at 21:30 CET.
After an extended break due to the postponement of their league tie at Betis and two rounds of FIFA competition, Atleti will be forced to shift gears as they prepare to get put through the grinder: a grueling stretch of seven games in a little over a three-week span.
Unbeaten in eight consecutive league matches (and 12 games overall in all competitions) dating back to their defeat to Real Madrid in early April, Diego Simeone’s men will want to make the case that they are indeed, as their shiny new trophy suggests, a European elite.
Rayo enter the fourth Match Day of their sophomore Primera División campaign undefeated with two wins and a draw under their belt.
Paco Jémez’ men have collected seven points with victories over Granada and Betis and a 0-0 draw at home versus Sevilla, and currently hold on to the fourth-place Champions League play-off spot.
But if the ridiculously on-fire Radamel Falcao – recently a hero in Madrid, Monaco, Barranquilla and Santiago – once again has his day, then los Colchoneros will draw level with Rayo at seven points apiece.
Coming off back-to-back hat-tricks in red and white, and two goals in two games in yellow with the Colombian national team, ‘El Tigre’ will be looking to continue adding to his impressive account of 42 goals in 53 total matches with Atleti and woo the Rojiblanco faithful into an even deeper love spell with those beautiful, silky smooth and shiny locks and (okay okay, I digress).
Atlético youth product Koke, who grew up in the Vallecas neighbourhood from where our opponents hail, warned on Saturday however: “We cannot live solely off of Falcao’s goals. Simeone has made it clear to us and we are working on it.”
The 20-year-old added that he doesn’t believe the so-called “FIFA Virus” will affect his team’s excellent run.
“There have been players that have gone to their national teams and have continued working and competing,” he said.
“Others have stayed here and have been training hard. I don’t think [the break] will affect our streak. We’re all very eager to play at the Calderón again [on Sunday].”
Miguel Ángel Gil Marín recently admitted our last signing of the summer transfer window, Domingo Cisma, was brought in to replace Sílvio as the squad’s back-up full-back option.
In the end, the Portuguese defender’s wish to return to his home country on loan fell through at the last moment and and he was forced to stay.
Now we have two alternatives to Filipe Luís, though, curiously, neither was called-up by Simeone for this bout.
Atleti cantera products Jorge Pulido and Joel were also left off the match selection and will not be suiting up against their team-mates from the second half of last season, though there’s a possibility Diego Costa, who accompanied the Rojiblanco academy pair in Vallecas on loan the previous term, will be, as the Brazilian was included in ‘El Cholo’s’ list.
Young starlet Óliver Torres will be unavailable for now as he undergoes, along with Saúl, a sort of pre-season regimen to make up for his absence from the squad over the summer while with the U-19 Spanish national team.
Atlético will pack bags on Tuesday for their trip to Israel in preparation for their opening Europa League clash against Hapoel Tel Aviv on Thursday.
Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Courtois, Asenjo
Defenders: Juanfran, Godín, Miranda, Filipe Luís, Cata Díaz
Midfielders: Arda, Tiago, Mario, Gabi, Koke, Cebolla, Emre, Raúl
Forwards: Adrián, Costa, Falcao
Rayo match selection: Rayo have confirmed they will not release their squad list for this round.
Referee: Javier Estrada Fernández