The red and white aftermath: Match Day 37

All the fun was in the stands after Atleti's boring 0-0 tie against Mallorca

Radamel Falcao holds Copa del Rey

Falcao thanks Atleti fans for all their support (MARCA)

Sunday’s scoreless draw against a last-place Mallorca side with one foot down the chute to Segunda made it clear that Atlético had already accomplished all of their pre-season objectives before kick-off.

Following direct qualification to the Champions League group stage and a Copa del Rey title and simultaneous snapping of a 14-year derby winless streak, there’s really nothing left for Atleti to play for this season.

This game, along with next weekend’s trip to Real Zaragoza, is like sitting around at work on a late Friday afternoon when all your tasks for the week have been completed.

In fact, the most memorable moment of Sunday’s encounter took place afterwards, when Rojiblancos Falcao, ‘Cebolla’, Gabi, Mario Suárez and Courtois celebrated, in song and dance, with fans still in attendance in the stands of the Vicente Calderón.

‘Cholo Castle’ warmly greeted and later bid farewell to an Atleti XI that have etched themselves in red and white lore, as Simeone unveiled a starting line-up identical to the one that faced off against and defeated (oh yes!) Real Madrid at the Bernabéu a little over a week ago.

Atleti close out this historic campaign on Saturday at La Romareda, where they will square off against another relegation threatened outfit in Zaragoza.

“We’ve put together a great year and it has been incredible. Above all, the fans have experienced a lot of joy with us and that makes us happy. It’s incredible to see them always supporting us.” – Koke

Post-game notes and quotes:

Simeone spoke of difficulty of planning for the match

Atlético manager Diego Pablo Simeone explained that it was a little hard to regroup after last weekend’s King’s Cup celebrations and ensuing trip to Singapore.

“It’s not easy to prepare a match under these circumstances but we had a lot of faith in the sense of responsibility the players have always shown,” he told the media.

“Beyond offering a little intensity, the team went in search of winning the game. We couldn’t win but the team tried to and made their presence felt.”

With regard to the squad’s charitable activities in Singapore earlier in the week, the Argentine said:

“They’re commitments that you have to fulfill and find the best possibilities for the team. From a physical standpoint, everyone responded very well and that speaks wonders about the players having taken care of themselves this week.”

Falcao bids the Calderón adieu 

“These last two years have been like a dream come true for me,” a very emotional Radamel Falcao told a large group of fans — primarily composed of Frente Atlético members — still gathered inside the Calderón well after the final whistle had blown.

Amid chants of “Falcao, quedate!” (Falcao, stay!), the Colombian continued his farewell speech:

“I never imagined I would win three titles in such a short period of time and what excites me the most and has touched my heart is that you have been with us in the good times and the bad, and in the end, we’ve all experienced a great moment of joy together.”

During his press conference, Simeone thanked the forward for “everything” he’s given Atlético, while insisting that, at this point, there is “nothing official” when it comes to the 27-year-old’s possible sale.

“Everything that Falcao will achieve will make me happy,” ‘Cholo’ said.

“I’ve known him since we were at River. That was one year and now, it’s been a year and a half at Atlético. We’ve been able to win four titles together. I’d like to thank Falcao for everything he has given us; that is, if he has to go.”

Meanwhile, Spanish radio station Cadena SER claims Falcao will fly out to Monaco on Monday to undergo a medical with what has heavily been suspected as his most likely destination.

‘El Tigre’s’ countryman, Jackson Martínez, who, like our ferocious feline before him, plays at Porto, is among the reported candidates to replace our likely-to-depart leading scorer, according to Portuguese paper A Bola. Martínez led the Primeira Liga with 26 goals this season.

Asked to comment about the latest speculation surrounding the Porto forward, Simeone said:

“The club is likely working in that department, weighing various options.”

Juanfran hopeful of return to Spanish national team

After a much-celebrated call-up to the Spanish national team last year, Juanfran was the subject of ridicule for a very costly blunder in a World Cup qualifying match against France.

Since the mistake, the former Osasuna man hasn’t been tapped by Vicente del Bosque again, but is hopeful of a call-up to the Confederations Cup. The list will be unveiled on Monday.

“Let’s hope I’m in the list,” the former winger said.

“The truth is, to be with the national team for the Confederations Cup would be the greatest thing after such an incredible season with Atlético Madrid.”

Hailed as one of the heroes of the Copa del Rey final victory, our converted right-back gave a recap of the current campaign.

“When the years go by, we’ll value everything we’ve done more,” he said.

“To make it into the Champions League directly and beat Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey at the Bernabéu; the fans have to be so proud.”

Filipe spends night in hospital as a precaution

Mallorca defender Alan Hutton accidentally drove his knee into Filipe Luís’ eye with about five minutes left to play, resulting in the Brazilian’s momentary loss of consciousness and what the club are calling a “blunt head injury on the left side of his face, eyelid, eyebrow and nose”.

Filipe was stretchered off the field and did not return, leaving Atleti with 10 men to finish off the clash.

It is unclear if the left-back will be able to take part in our final match of the season.

Other notes:

  • Thibaut Courtois bagged his 24th clean sheet of the present campaign in all competitions, and now has 20 in La Liga this season. His 24 shutouts equal his total from his inaugural year at Atleti, though he achieved the feat in seven less games than in the last term (2011/12: 24 clean sheets in 52 games; 2012/13: 24 in 45 games). The Belgian, on loan from Chelsea, told Atleti fans: “I will be right here next season.” The 21-year-old’s words indicate that his loan deal will likely be extended for a third season.
  • Diego Godín and Gabi each saw their 10th yellow card and face suspension in final game at Zaragoza.
  • Gifted young midfielder Óliver Torres was handed a hefty chunk of playing time after replacing Arda in the 58th minute. “He played very well,” Simeone said of the Atleti prodigy. “Towards the end of the game he had to perform a role that isn’t his, accompanying Mario in the middle. He gave the team vitality and, most of all, freshness. Next year he’ll have to take part with the national team and later he’ll have to continue improving and winning himself a spot as he’s done until this point. The team’s level of competitiveness will surely be higher next season.
  • The fans above all else; Out with Cata Díaz” read a banner in the stands on Sunday following reports of the Atleti centre back’s scuffle with club supporters after last Saturday’s Copa del Rey celebration. Cholo opted to leave the Argentine defender off the game day squad–perhaps as a punishment for his actions last weekend though Cata did apologise in a statement released on the club’s official site in the middle of the week.

  • Gert

    So happy Courtois is staying.
    A nice goodbye for Falcao. His departure makes me sad, but I wish him all the best. Unlike the rat…

  • Paulo
  • Ahmad Hossainy

    all the fans wish the best of luck for Falcao (if) he decided to leave .. not like Aguero (who I believe is the one @Gert called the rat)

    and also all the fans are very sure that we will sign a replacement as good as him (if not even better) .. cause that what we do
    since EL Nino departure and our squad is getting stronger every year

    BUT for me there is one problem :

    Falcao was not just a good player, he was a celebrity .. and celebrity means money
    he brought us many sponsors, and with him we played friendlies in South America, Egypt, Azerbaijan & Singapore
    beside all the commercials he made which I believe Atleti had a share of it

    Forlan, Aguero and even Torres (at that time) did not have that quality .. and I don’t know if Falcao’s replacement will has it or not ?!

    Falcao departure is not only a sporting loss but also an economic one .

  • Atleti-Rus

    Reasonable point, Ahmad, Radamel was already a star, a brand when he came to Atletico. His transfer generated a lot of buzz about the club – how many goals will he score, where will he go, who’s the best no. 9 in the world etc. But most importantly, he’s a likeable, humble and extremely talented person with a huge fan base and Latin American support. There are very few players who share all these qualities. I believe bosses will find a decent replacement, though it’s clear that we probably won’t ever see a player of such caliber in the squad. And we can’t deny that the man deserves more recognition, he was born to win tournaments, not to fight for the third place.

  • athenssuper3

    well i wish all the best for falcao… so if courtois stays…
    cata leaves, no one wants him so we have to buy a decent and perhaps a younger central defender, if the rumors are right we will buy diego and lopez(from catania) all the loanees return(maybe sell some who can’t play at atleti) sell raul garcia, domingo and tiago probably leave we have to buy an anti tiago(or renew his contract) buy leo and now let’s see… if there is a great striker at a logicaly price then buy him or we can use this money for other players and use costa as a lonely striker… against zaragosa i would use asenjo(he must play some games) most of youngsters insua and maybe use falcao just for a little

  • Hassim

    I’ve lost all my respect for Falcao.. You are going to play CL, you are ambitous, you wanna show the world in the CL how good you are, and then you go to Monaco ? So it’s the money that seduces him.. He doesn’t cares about Atletico Madrid.

    If he went to a big club, like Man.United / Real / Bayern, then i could understand it.. But Monaco for the gold.. This is just low, very low.

  • Atleti-Rus

    Yes, I agree, I thought he would go to a big club.

  • Gert

    I’m sure Falcao isn’t the one who made the choice to go to Monaco.

  • Kaminero

    In Punto Pelota they claimed that Falcao’s contract with Monaco includes a clause that gives priority to future offers coming from Real Madrid and Chelsea. Furthermore, Falcao has also decided not to sell his home in Madrid.

    This is like a flashback from the summer when Kun left…

  • athenssuper3

    if he join real then i wish him to die… i don’t think he will do that bad thing.. of cource maybe he want to win cl… but there are teams he can join… and why not try win it with atleti??

  • Javi

    Guys, lets form an informed opinion here. Athletes have to earn as much as they can while they can. At any point in their career they can sustain a career ending injury and their earning potential is over. For that reason I see no problem with Falcao accepting the 10m reportedly that Monaco is going to pay him [more than 3x what he is earning now].
    I think Falcao’s tears the other day were real, and he loves Atleti and living in Madrid, as he has said many times. I am pretty sure that if Atleti could pay the 10M he would stay with us and play CL.

  • ali_

    its really off topic, but why do they need to earn so much money? to wear the newest armani underwear? total bullshit. if they were satisfied with medium-high living conditions instead of ultramegahigh conditions, and if they werent buy the newest ferrari/lamborghini, nobody would say what u said javi.
    a man with common sense can live forever from what a mediocre player make a year, but football players… nooo.
    its about that most of the footballers so dumb and/or greedy that theres no money in the universe which they couldnt spend.
    im not talking about falcao, but in general. (and yes im personally know some players (in hungary) :D)
    wonder when fifa/uefa introduce salary caps…

  • is ti really that osvaldo will replace falcao for 20 million € ?

  • Chalet

    @Gert:
    I absolutely agree with you!
    It´s plain to see that Falcao is obviously nothing more than a ‘marionette’ of the Mendes-Company.

    @Kaminero:
    Very good point – as always!
    But please don´t forget that Forlán also decided not to sell his house in Las Rozas….. 😉

    @Javi:
    I think that to a certain point you are right.
    But on the other hand there are football players like for example Maxi López. He is 29 years old and at the moment on loan from Catania to Sampdoria Genova.
    He is nothing but a substitute there, but he still manages to live a life of luxury alongside his 3 little kids and his fastidiously wife.
    And I don´t think that there are big differences between Italy and Spain.

    What I really don´t get is the fact, that Falcao´s priority apparently is NOT having Champions League football.
    He could have had it 2 years ago with Oporto – and now again with Atléti.
    Atléti may not be able to pay a player 10m – but I think that with the money from the Champions League next season, the club would have been able to pay a salary increase to the most important players.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    great post @Ali

    I mean I’m a pharmacist, and what Falcao make in one year with Atleti I can not make it in a life time

    when did 3 million euros a year become few money ?!

  • Yon

    I am pretty sure if he had the choice he would have stayed or gone to one of the English clubs in the CL, however as with us Mendes opted for money and now with Monaco the same thing

  • Kaminero

    As for the Mendes link, one thing that puzzles me is that in France the third party ownership of players is banned (just like in England). So if Falcao really is moving to Monaco would this mean that he would also be freed from his ties to the investors?

  • Andres (Lolaya)

    I think the third party ownership isn’t true if that is true.

    Wow yesterday and today (If Monaco don’t announce it today) will be brutal in terms of rumors and stuff.

  • Javi

    The report is that they sold Falcao to monaco for 45M when the team was owed 60M
    We need every euro we can get and we dont need to give breaks to teams owned by billionaires, so why the discount????
    Cerezo and Gil have some BIG explaining to do here.

  • starvs

    this is a Jorge Mendes driven cluster fuck, Falcao is just along for the (very well paid) ride.

  • Javi

    I think you are right starvs and I think falcao’s tears the other day were honest and if atleti could match Monaco’s salary he would stay because he feels the colors and loves madrid.

  • Silchas

    i hope the 45M are only for our rights of falcao, so that monaco will pay another amount of money for the other part of the rights.
    I would rather see Osvaldo in Atletico shirt then Negredo, but that ist a personal point of view. Negredo and Soldado are the only forwards, who i don’t like without a good reason. 🙂

  • Javi

    Osvaldo has major issues with temper and character.
    id rather see chicharito or Damiao here.

  • ali_

    Silchas: +1, hate both of ’em too

  • kris

    Nah,fuck Osvaldo. We need a younger, better, goal-hunter like Falcao, and someone who is foreign and prominent. For the global reach and sponsorship.

  • Silchas

    so which player under 24 is prominent and costs under 35 million? right nobody!

  • kris

    Silchas, well, that is Caminero’s job. He has to go out scouting to see which player will work out the best and will prove to be influential to the team.