The following is a guest opinion piece. Opinion articles are not the views of AtléticoFans and reflect only the opinions of the author.
It’s only a few days until the European Super Cup is fought for in Monaco. The winner of the Champions League final, Internazionale Milano, and the winner of the Europa League, Club Atlético de Madrid, are the clubs who will decide the best club of the continent. Both teams have changed in major aspects, with perhaps only Atlético changing for the best.
We all know that Mourinho has left Inter to coach the infamous Blancos. It’s logical that they’ve replaced him with Rafa Benítez taking the role of coach. Quique Sánchez Flores and Rafael Benítez already met last season. Every Colchonero is still happy to remember the way we knocked Liverpool out in the semi-final stage last season.
Transferwise, Inter has been active, but no major players as of yet. You could count the departure of Balotelli, but you can’t really say he was prominent in a positive way. They don’t seem to need many new faces, since they’ve won the ‘big eared’ trophy. However, some players, like Javier Zanetti, are getting older and they will need replacement in the near future. They have some young newcomers, but even though some of them are well-known names already, you can’t call them certain prize winners.
Atleti, on the other hand, have certainly improved their squad. Everyone could see that López and Perea had good games, but almost always made tons of mistakes. Luckily, we somehow found some money to buy Uruguay’s top defender Diego Godín and La Liga’s best left back, Filipe Luís. It’s true that we haven’t seen that much of them in pre-season, but even in that little time they showed we have a bright future in defence.
Other good news is that after having an underperforming Simão on the left wing, we now have Fran Mérida who is showing signs of becoming a great player already. Quique has already given a few hints that Fran is above Simão in the pecking order already and I don’t blame him! The last ‘reinforcement’ is the return of Diego Costa. We finally seem to have found the third striker we needed. Costa is capable of taking the ‘9’ role, Salvio, Kun and Forlán (and Jurado) are players to play as a ’10’, but none of them are naturals at playing with their back to the goal. Even though Costa was primarily second striker for Valladolid, he is more natural as a number nine.
We have some new faces that need to get used to the rest and vice versa, but most mistakes last season were made by individuals, especially in the beginning. Since we’ve improved on the individual aspect of defense, Atleti looks better than ever. The way Flores explained why we haven’t seen our best XI gives me the feeling we might be much better than we think. Inter, even though they’re full of champions, have to adapt to Rafa’s style and that might be harder than everyone thinks.
Do you, like me, feel we are going to kick some ass?