Simeone avoids the press at start of pre-season

Baptistão the only new face, while Ruben Pérez may be hidden card in midfield

Atletico Madrid preseason training session

On Friday, Atlético began laying the groundwork for their upcoming Champions League campaign. Our man Ricardo Menéndez was in attendance to serve as our eyes and ears. Here is his account of what went down in Majadahonda.

Diego Pablo Simeone was very nice to the press, waving and even offering handshakes on his way to the training field.

But the Argentine avoided a formal press conference, and there will probably not be one for a few days to come, according to the information we received.

“Nothing has happened since the last game last season, so there is nothing to mention,” said a club press officer with an ironic smile on his face.

Atleti began the pre-season under the scorching 40 degrees of Madrid in July heat.

As we reported on Friday, the presentation of our only signing of the summer, Léo Baptistão, had atypically taken place at the Jarama Race Track.

Contrary to prior reports, player medicals were postponed until Saturday.

The team will be training at the club’s Majadahonda training facilities for three days: Saturday, Sunday and Monday, before they head towards Los Ángeles de San Rafael and start a more intensive phase of the pre-season that will include early morning and evening sessions to get in shape before the first matches to be played in Argentina later this same month.

Here is the account of who was missing and who was there as the squad’s preparations got underway, with absences and presences worth mentioning:

There were the very noticeable absences of “Cata” Díaz and Sílvio, given extra days by the club to complete their respective exits.

While the Argentine defender seems to have attracted the interest of such teams as Málaga or Boca Juniors, Sílvio’s destination seems to be Portugal. A definite sale is very likely in both cases.

Of course the team was also missing the youth talents that were either competing (Saul, Manquillo and Óliver) or had recently competed (Koke and Joel). Confederations Cup participants also have a few more days of deserved rest (Godín, “Cebolla” Rodríguez, and Filipe Luis).

This means that if the current players that trained at Majadahonda complete the pre-season with the team, 29 men plus signings will fight for a spot with the Champions League bound Rojiblancos.

And now, some tidbits about the players that were in attendance on Friday:

Goalkeepers

Courtois, a very slim and looking in shape Asenjo and Canadian born, Moroccan youth talent Yassine Bounou (aka Bono) started yesterday. The young Atleti B goalkeeper is thin, tall and catlike, very much in the style of Courtois.

Defenders

The pre-season saw another return of Leandro Cabrera, who has been on the team since 2009 but has only played four games with Atleti and has spent three straight seasons out on loan. Insúa, Miranda, Pulido and Juanfran were also present.

Midfielders

Some interesting news on this front, besides the players to be expected: Tiago, Mario Suárez, Arda Turan, Raúl García and Gabi, we also saw Rubén Pérez. Rumours suggest the returning cantera player may go back to Betis for one more season. There, he was a solid starter last year and some media outlets even reported he was to start the pre-season with the Verdiblancos. The chatter around the training facilities seems to indicate the matter is far from being decided and Pérez might actually be Plan B after the failed signing of Toulalán.

Forwards

Here we have been exporting talent for years and youth talents Borja Bastón and Pedro, as well as the Portuguese Pizzi, are back for a shot at grabbing a spot up front. Chances are slim as Adrián and Diego Costa have an assured place on the team. New signing Baptistão, it has been said, would likely be sent on loan, though the player assured at his presentation he knew nothing about a temporary exit. The key absence of Falcao has left a huge hole in Rojiblanco fans’ hearts and the club will try to sign an experienced player to substitute the Colombian, but the task is far from a simple one both due to money and relevant players’ availability.

Finally, we’d like to mention that ‘Cholo’ called-up gifted youth striker Dani “Torito” Aquino , who experienced his return to Primera five years after his debut at 16 years of age in the last match of the season versus Real Zaragoza. In that game, he picked up an assist and put in an overall solid performance coming from Atleti C. The player is expected to play for Atleti B or to go on loan to continue developing and will probably only be with the team for the first part of the pre-season so that Cholo can see him work for a few days. Aquino is a player to follow given the attention he has received from Simeone at the end of the past season and beginning of this one.

Hopefully, Simeone’s silence means Caminero is about to deliver good news and they are waiting to give a positive message to all.

We’ll have to wait and see.


  • Ahmad Hossainy

    He has all the rights to avoid the press, with only one summer signing he has nothing to talk about :((

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    just read that Gil Marin & Caminero met with Villa in Gijon

    I wish we can sign him, although he will turn 32 next December and wasn’t so great in the last 2 season but still he is the all-time top scorer of LaRoja and he has a huge experience, except the Confederations Cup : he won all the possible trophies with both Barca & Spain

    But I have my own theory that says :
    “Barcelona do not sell their big players to their rivals in La Liga”

    the last one I remember was Luis Figo

    there are many Barca players who could be afforded by clubs like Atleti, Valencia & Sevilla such as Maxwell, Kéita, Bojan, Jeffren, Afellay and others but they all have been sold or loaned outside Spain

    I believe Atleti was interested in 2 of those : Bojan & Afellay .. also I read that Simeone asked for Tello last season, and I will not be surprised if they sold or loaned him abroad too

    The funny thing is that they really think that we could compete with them for La Liga title if they gave us some of their 2nd choice players !!

  • kris

    Simeone is pssed and as for signing Villa, he is too old for us. Seriously, though, we should be trying to build a young team that will be competing on top for years to come, not someone that will probably retire after two or three years. I mean, I would have him, even if he was old and was in his Valencia form, but come on mate, he is horrendous, now. He was really $hitty for La Roja and Barca, so, I say no signing for him. You see, I would more than welcome Benteke or Lukaku or any young striker like them. I don’t want anybody that is older than 27. That’s why I am saying we should sign Ljajic and Papu Gomez, both very young players and they’d fit in perfectly. Saul should get more playing time next season, so should Manquillo. Oliver obviously needs it for him to improve. All trusts in Simeone, though, let’s see what he has in store.

  • EC

    I would love us to sign David villa. He would probs only cost €12 mil or so and even though we would see a very small or no return on that investment financially that’s not a lot of money to spend on Spain’s all time goal scorer. Wages would be a big issue tho. U still think he is a very good player and should be better this coming season than last when he was injured. It means we would have a good and experienced striker plus still have around €20 mil left for other players

  • EC

    As for us only getting 2 maybe 3 maximum years out of Villa. That’s also all we got out of falcao

  • Alex21

    Villa is a really good striker. In your defense, EC, we did only get 2 years outta Falcao and maybe that’s all we would get out of Villa, but is quality and will produce goals.

    In Kris’s defense, i agree with building up a team with young guns. I love the fact that we have one of the most promising kids from Spain in Oliver. there should be absolutely no reason why he doesn’t have a ridiculously huge buyout to keep other clubs’ dirty hands away from him.

  • Willen

    Man, we need to play Óliver and Saul more. They are top players. Specially Óliver is on the way to become a world class player.

  • kris

    Okay, so, we have to pay 100 million euros in the upcoming two months, according to AS. I don’t think there will be any signing this transfer window.

  • Alex21

    Fantastic.

  • Alex21

    I’m not so sure this was a surprise though. There’s no way the league officials just showed up and said you outer us “x” amount of money. There’s a reason we were only allotted 30 million to spend. Our board had to have known about this months in advance.

  • starvs

    There won’t be NO signings, the board won’t allow that, they’d look too terrible; they will try and save face some way some how….

    There may not be any real quality signings though, that I could see…

  • kris

    I know, Alex, but considering that we aren’t a rich club with a rich owner, don’t be surprised if there aren’t even any signings.

  • Alex21

    I’m hoping for the best, preparing for the worst.

  • Urban

    I dont know guys if you follow the U-20 WC but this Gimenez guys looks to have a world-class potential

  • LosColchonero

    I wonder how many of you respond to other posts so quickly; it’s not like there’s an alert function for when someone posts (that I know of). Do you check the posts every few hours or so?? *Gasp* You have a bad case of football-itis! Don’t worry though, two months left.

  • Alex21

    One touch of a finger on my phone’s home screen. I get bored easily, don’t worry about it.

  • kris

    ahha, right, though, Alex? Jose Gimenez is jewel to us. He is got great potentials and is probably the best signing between the two signings we have made.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Egyptian media have reported that Atleti were watching Al Ahly winger Mahmoud Hassan (AKA Trezeguet) during U20 World Cup in Turkey
    He is good and very promising player, he has been linked with several European clubs especially in France

    but I think Atleti are looking for the wrong Egyptian player, if they are going to sign an Egyptian player so they should sign Mohamed Salah .. not anyone else.

  • Please listen to the last show of Atlético Podcast made by Svenskafans.com. It´s in english and the english parts starts after 35 seconds after a short intrudction in swedish. AS Journalist Dani L Hidalgo and members from Svenskafans.com are talking about Atléticos situation, after the Falcao transfer. Enjoy!

    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fradio01.dobb.se%2Fatleti_podcast_06_07_2013.mp3&h=jAQGJJL0U

  • EC

    Looks like Gomez is going to Fiorintina for €20 mil…. Surely we could’ve competed with Fiorintina :(. Another one we can no longer get

  • SoLobo

    We ‘ve got our striker already, David Villa. A very cheap option (5m), he knows the spanish football and he is in a great age to be a tutor for our boys. Great news, surely better than buying Negredo for 20m-25m. Now that we ‘ve saved our money, let ‘s see who ‘s next.

  • Ty Gambo

    2.1m for Villa, 2m more if he stays for another season and 1m extra for a third season, only getting half of the rights.
    This could very possibly be his final destination as a football player worth some money, and if he is able to reach a level close to what he is capable of, I think it’s a pretty good deal, leaves more space for Leo or another young striker to grow into being a next Atleti super star striker.

  • EC

    Great news. Fantastic deal imo

  • Alex21

    Sooooooo much better than Negredon’t!!!

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