Atlético Madrid bring the 2012-13 to a close on Saturday night, with a Zaragoza side fighting to avoid relegation our last opponents of the season.
The game will also mark our first match after Radamel Falcao, our record signing, sealing a move to Monaco earlier today.
Kick-off in La Romareda is set for 21:00 CET.
Just two weeks on from our glorious Copa del Rey final win earlier in the month, Atleti fans have been brought back down to earth with a thump following the news of our star striker’s departure.
Of course, the Falcao move was not unexpected, but is a timely reminder of the situation the club is in away from the pitch.
Simeone and his team will want to end this historic season on a high though, so we will hopefully be in for a competitive match, instead of the drab, lifeless affairs often seen at this time of year.
For the home side it’s do or die, and after a 4-0 mauling at Betis last weekend, Manolo Jiménez’s side need the three points to have any chance of survival.
The Rojiblancos have made changes, but all of them enforced. The main news is that Dani Aquino, the very much in-form striker from our C-team, is called up in place of Falcao, having scored 13 in 16 matches since his January move from Real Oviedo.
Óliver Torres and Javi Manquillo also make the squad, although fellow youngster Saúl Ñíguez is injured. The trio were all named in Spain’s squad for the Under-20 World Cup earlier today.
Also in are defenders Jorge Pulido and Domingo Cisma, filling in for the banned Diego Godín, and Filipe Luís, who has already joined up with the Brazil squad ahead of the Confederations Cup.
Mario Suárez is sidelined after picking up a knock in training this week, and midfield partner Gabi is another who will miss the game through suspension. Cata Díaz does return following his controversial altercation with fans after the Copa final.
Cholo didn’t address the media on Friday, but spoke about the Zaragoza game in the presentation of his new book, “The Simeone Effect”, the day before.
“We hope to play well and finish the season with a good feeling and the victory. We continue to generate great enthusiasm for next year,” he said.
He also spoke about Falcao and, with his second spell in charge of the Colombian now having come to an end, wished him well for his future.
“The choices in life are personal,” he said. “With Falcao, I happened to be in River with him and he always competed with the same enthusiasm that he has here. Now he’s more mature.”
As for Zaragoza, the headline news is that ex-Atleti ‘keeper Roberto Jiménez is not fit enough for their squad. Another familiar face in Leo Franco, who spent six years at the Vicente Calderón, will take place between the sticks instead.
It’s the third year running that the red-and-white’s face a team threatened by relegation on the final day, having won at Mallorca and Villarreal in the last couple of seasons. Los Blanquillos will have to better both Deportivo and Celta’s results if they want to stay up.
Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Courtois, Asenjo
Defenders: Pulido, Cisma, Cata Díaz, Juanfran, Insúa, Miranda, Manquillo
Midfielders: Tiago, Koke, Raúl García, Arda, Cristian Rodríguez, Óliver
Forwards: Adrián, Diego Costa, Aquino