Atlético enter Sunday’s league encounter versus Real Sociedad having experienced a panoply of emotions in the days and hours leading up to the match (19:00 CET).
To the elation of the Rojiblanco faithful, qualification to the semifinals of the Copa del Rey was secured after a spirited comeback effort in San Mamés on Tuesday. The triumph set up a massive rematch against Real Madrid which gets underway this upcoming Wednesday.
Days later, on the winter transfer deadline day, fans were treated to quite-the-unexpected yet ever-so-delightful surprise.
Previously gone-but-never-forgotten Colchonero idol Diego Ribas, whose return to Atleti had been the subject of volumes of gossip since the day he left, finally came back to the place where he feels “at home”.
Atleti supporters were thrilled when the news was finally confirmed.
But, the joy didn’t last too long.
Early Saturday, breaking news reports in Madrid announced the death of former Atleti player and coach Luis Aragonés, sending Atlético fans into a collective state of melancholy.
Hours later, the all-around good cheer snuck its way back in by virtue of a shock win at the Camp Nou by a Valencia in shambles.
Barcelona’s 3-2 defeat to los Che has offered Atleti another excellent chance to take over the top spot in Spain.
The players are unquestionably super-motivated ahead of the bout, and will want to pay tribute to Mr. Aragonés with a thumping win.
This fixture, which took place on the 27th match day last season, was won by the Txuri-Urdin–the first defeat at home in La Liga suffered by Atleti in the 2012-13 campaign.
Simeone immediately called-upon Diego, who will don the red and white shirt for the first time since 13 May 2012, the day of the game that sent Villarreal down to Segunda División.
Defender José Giménez, through technical decision, and Filipe Luís, Arda and Tiago, because of injuries, will be unavailable, while Mario Suárez has apparently fully recovered and is back in the selection.
Will Atleti finally take advantage of a gift placed on their laps by the gods of football?
Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Aranzubia, Courtois
Defenders: Godín, Alderweireld, Manquillo, Juanfran, Insúa, Miranda
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Koke, Raúl García, Cebolla, Gabi, DIEGO, Sosa
Forwards: Adrián, Villa, Costa
Real Sociedad match selection:
Goalkeepers: Bravo, Zubikarai
Defenders: Carlos Martínez, Mikel, Íñigo, Ansotegui, José Ángel, Zaldua
Midfielders: Xabi Prieto, Pardo, Zurutuza, Ros, Gaztañaga,
Forwards: Griezmann, Seferovic, Agirretxe, Vela, Chory Castro