The red and white aftermath: Match Day 37

Atleti fell a goal shy of league title in devastating draw against Málaga

Atleti were this close to the league title on Sunday (AS)

Atleti were this close to the league title on Sunday (AS)

For those of you Colchoneros still alive to read this, let’s revisit Atlético’s agonising 1-1 tie versus Málaga.

How close were Diego Simeone’s men from achieving eternal glory on Sunday?

A Willy Caballero fingernail close.

Coming into Sunday’s affair, Atleti were dealt the harsh blow of not having their deadliest weapon Diego Costa at their disposal.

‘The Beast’s’ absence became increasingly more conspicuous as the clash transpired, with David Villa botching a couple of clear chances in the opening 45 minutes of play.

But there was no real cause for concern at the break.

The festively adorned Vicente Calderón, with its majestic splendour fully on display in anticipation of a legendary evening, hadn’t witnessed an opposing team’s goal in six games.

But then, 20 minutes into the second half, the collective soul of the Rojiblanco faithful was splashed with the bucket of ice cold water that was Málaga’s wacky goal in the 65th minute.

A pair of inexplicable slip-ups between Toby Alderweireld and Thibaut Courtois led to Samuel’s against-the-run-of-play strike.

Fortunately, Toby atoned for his error just 9 minutes later.

The Belgian, who had stepped in as a starter for the suspended Diego Godín, headed home the equaliser from a corner.

The goal instantly sparked a dejected Calderón back to its earlier thunderous levels of merriment, as the fans in attendance tried to inspirit their men to complete the comeback with 15 minutes left on the clock.

Meanwhile, over in Elche, Barcelona were finding it very hard to break down los Franjiverdes’ defence, and things were all level at 0-0.

With Real Madrid crashing and burning in Vigo, a late match-winner by either Atleti or Elche would have sufficed to fulfill the red and white fantasy.

Barça hadn’t allowed a single shot on target, so it was always going to be difficult for Elche to come to our aid.

The boys in green and white were already accomplishing all we had wished for throughout the week–to make sure Barcelona didn’t leave town with the three points.

Back to Cholo Castle, or what we can remember from the dying moments there.

We see Adrián make some space for himself inside the box with a deft touch to his right. The Asturian squares up to take the shot and strikes. The ball sails into an upper 90 curl and time freezes forever.

This is it. We did it. 18 years later and………..noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Wilfredo Daniel Caballero Lazcano, better known as Willy, supernaturally gets a fingertip to the ball and sends it flying to outer space.

‘Cholo’ has always insisted upon how much work it has taken to get to where we are. It’s never been easy for Simeone’s ‘hard-luck’ winners.

And so, the path to the championship runs through familiar territory. Eight of Atleti’s nine league titles have been won on the final match day, our friends over at Esto Es Atleti had recently reminded us, and so it shall be if we are to add ‘La Decima’ to our trophy cabinet next Saturday when we visit the Camp Nou.

The heavyweight title fight for the ages, the grand finale between Spain’s number one and number two, is set to be played on the one-year anniversary of our Copa del Rey win over Real Madrid.

All we need is one point, so cheer up fellow Rojiblancos.

This is a nice reminder of why sports have the edge on just about all of our other current forms of entertainment: there is no script.

No one knows what will happen.

What we do know is that, win or lose on the 17th, we’ll always be here for our beloved Atleti.

Post-game notes and quotes:

Simeone: “No one believed we would be here”

“The team made a great effort,” Atleti boss Diego Simeone said after his squad failed to secure the league title on Sunday.

“We tried, attacked the whole time, had very clear chances and I think that from the standpoint of our effort, of what we had to give based on what the game demanded, the players gave their maximum.

“We’ll arrive to the final fixture at a place, the Camp Nou, that no one believed we would make it to three points ahead of Barcelona. No one believed it, and no one will believe that we have a chance to win.

“We’re okay. It’s a final and there’s always a 50 percent chance for each side.”

Simeone continued: “We’re up against a powerful club that are used to winning titles. In the past decade they have won six leagues.

“We’ll go there with a lot of excitement and a lot of humility. Nobody gave us anything. The lads made an enormous effort and I am behind the players to the death.

“The team is still alive, still fighting. It’s normal that they are sad today because they didn’t win, that has to happen, but that’s good because they feel it, they live it and then they prepare for the 10 impossible-to-be-better days with renewed excitement, with a final in Barcelona and a final in Lisbon.”

Cholo ended his press conference with one statement: “I’m proud of Atlético Madrid.”

Toby, or not Toby, that is the question

Toby Alderweireld was up against some ugly numbers ahead of the proceedings on Sunday: he had featured in the starting line-up of three of Atleti’s four losses in La Liga in the present campaign.

For a little bit there, it seemed as if that record would get even darker because of his own big mistake.

But the Belgium international redeemed himself with his first goal in Primera action–second overall (he had scored against Sant Andreu in the Copa del Rey back in December).

Gabi: “We still believe”

“We still believe in this team,” Atleti captain Gabi said immediately after the final whistle blew.

“We’re going to fight until the end. We’re Atlético Madrid and we’re going to Barcelona to win. We have to keep working. We are one point away from achieving our objective.”

When asked if his team had the edge given that the Blaugrana haven’t beaten Atleti in five games this season, Gabi responded: “We’re doing our job well and are even with the big clubs, but the previous games don’t mean anything. The next one is a different game.”

The veteran midfielder concluded with a message to the supporters.

“They are giving their all in the hopes of their team becoming champions,” he said.

“Again, today couldn’t be the day, but next weekend, the team will give their all to do so.”

Other notes:

  • One more assist for José Sosa, who now has 6 in less than half a season in red and white. Amazingly, his 5 assists in La Liga are third most on the team, with only Koke (13) and Gabi (7) having more in league play. Yes, the Argentine has more than Arda, Filipe, Juanfran, Diego, Tiago, Costa, Villa and Raúl.
  • Atleti secured their first unbeaten season at home (15 wins, 4 draws) in league play since their 1982-83 campaign (12 wins, 5 draws).
  • Atlético’s 69 goals at the Castle of Cholo this season is a record, Pedro Martin of COPE reports. Their previous highest total in a single campaign at home was 68, an amount reached in 1955-56, 1964-65 and 1991-92.
  • While many will point out that nothing has been lost just yet, as we remain in the driver’s seat for the league title, one maybe crucial advantage was indeed forfeited. Real Madrid will have nothing to play for next weekend when they host Espanyol, allowing them to rest key players ahead of the Champions League final a week later. Atleti, on the other hand, will be forced to roll out their strongest XI at the Camp Nou. With both Champions League finalists dealing with injury woes to critical starters, the additional rest could play a significant role–or nahh!
  • Neptuno’s case of blue balls — as he awaits a celebration — has been confirmed by historians as the most severe one ever suffered by a Neoclassical marble structure.

  • Ali

    We will win at camp nou!!
    That’s what people said we we were held by chelsea at the calderon but we fight back and went on to qualify for the final and I’m pretty sure we won’t lose at nou camp..

  • Urban

    Gimme Saturday NOW!

  • Atletico9

    Hate you willy!

    So fucking close! Vamos Atleti – 4 point in the next two games. 1 in barca and 3 in lissabon. Im beggin God!

  • Atletico9

    I will cry like forever if we loose our whole beautiful season in the next two weeks!

  • piserakos

    Ahmad told it all at the comment he made! I’m sure my friend our fans will be upset and sad if we lose both of the tittles but we are PROUD of our team! Even if we lose 10-0 the two finals!
    Remember mine goal at the start of the season (i’m have big goals 😛 )
    1) Finish 3rd (or higher) with no more that 15 points difference from the 1st.
    2) Reach the quarter-finals of CL
    3) Reach the games with Real or Barca at Coppa del Ray
    4) Rise our income
    My biggest goal? Untill 2018 saw people that there is one more team at La Liga! Compete with them. So all Europe we are ATLETICO not Elche!
    My goal now is simple! Do not let our players go! Yes we can and we should sell some players (their value would be too high right now and we should take advantedge of it) but we must not destroy our chemistry, Cholo MUST stay!
    Somos Atletico de Madrid, somos los mejores! Vamos por los ultimas finals! Vamos a ganar! Aupa Atleti!

  • Chewie

    I just wish we win any of the trophies. It would be a bitter failure to have such a fantastic season and let it all slip through our hands in just two weeks.

    Sosa is the perfect sub. He’s not that talented or diverse but he does what he can with brilliance – bring the ball to the box, pass, cross or take a corner and voila! – 6 assists in less than half a season.

    Villa is pathetic. He should play for us anymore. Even if he redeems himself and score winning goals in both Liga and the UCL final, I say dispose of this useless bastard. We must have another player except Costa who can score and not hit the fucking bar.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Some people think that the luck is against us, one goal last night or at least a draw against Levante would have secured the title for us ..
    I beg to differ, we were very lucky this season
    just remember how many 1-0 & 2-1 wins we achieved in this campaign
    and remember that despite having 89 points, they could have been not enough if Real & Barca did what they used to do lately, reaching 100 points or so close to 100 points
    in 2010, Real finished second with 96 points
    in 2011, Real finished second with 92 points
    in 2012, Barca finished second with 91 points
    but we can win the title this season with 90 points
    so, there is no reason to be sad or pessimistic

    Toby indeed :
    we talked about him after Levante game, and my opinion was and still that he is a good player, and with some time and with more regular playing minutes he could be a great player
    he made some mistakes, but come on .. I remember calling Miranda a flop in his first games with Atleti, especially after the 5-0 defeat at Camp Nou with Manzano
    I will not repeat the same mistake with Toby

    I watched a video for Gabi’s post-match interview, he was all smiles
    that is exactly what we need right now, we don’t need pressure or nervousness
    and that’s why Gabi is the captain of Atletico Madrid

    I didn’t even hear about Sosa before he came to Atleti, but when I knew that he was hand-picked by El Cholo I was sure that he will be great
    but having more assists than Arda is a little embarrassing for the Turk
    of course he is doing a great job, but his effectiveness was not that great this season, we need more goals and more assists from him

    Unless Villa agrees yet again to have a big cut of his salary (to be 2 million instead of 4 as reported to be) then he should leave
    but please guys, don’t insult him, he was once a great player, and he will always be a great person
    On the other hand, Adrian should stay
    yes, I’ve changed my opinion after his 2 great games in the CL vs Barca & Chelsea
    He deserves one last chance, maybe he will be next season’s Raul Garcia !

    if we couldn’t keep Courtois for next season I think we should bring back Asenjo and sign Willy and make them compete with each other
    yeah, Thibaut is too good to be replaced by only one GK

    The aftermath is always funnier and more enjoyable when we lose or draw
    Thank you Martin for cheering us up every time we are upset

    Estoy orgulloso del Atletico de Madrid

  • Brad

    So apparently the last time Atleti won La Liga, they couldn’t clinch it until the final matchday giving up three or four chances to clinch along the way. So I guess it’s our thing?

  • Jeronamo

    I wasn’t that disheartened after the game because this is hat I always believed in anyway. Remember when some of you were talking about our inability to compete against the “big two” because of the money difference and I had a different belief?
    Well I’m proud of all that happens from here on out and I still believe we can win the league

    I still think Adrian needs to leave, two games won’t make me change my opinion about him and add Villa to my list, bring back Leo and get another consistent striker and I’ll be happy next season

  • MR

    No matter how many games we have won this season if we don’t win the title.
    No matter how hard the squad worked the whole year if they fail in the end.
    No matter how many bigger teams we managed to beat if we lose lots of points against the weakest sides in Liga.
    The title was in our hands, Barca and Real did everything they could to help us by both having their worst season in recent years.
    Losing it would be an extremely big fail as the other 2 won’t underperform so badly again.
    I can’t hide the fact that I am really disappointed with Cholo as he totally mismanaged the side in these 2 games (mentally at least), the lack of concentration, serenity and accuracy is incredible.
    The way Atletico fought this year is NO EXCUSE for losing the title, it just makes losing even worse.
    I really really hope Cholo will start to shout the fuck out of the players as they need to wake the fuck up.

  • jeronamo

    And where was all this title winning talk at the beginning or the season???? Smh some of you guys never cease to amaze me with the way you switch from non believers to believers or just plain old satisfied at the flick of a switch… I guess even tho we can’t finish no less than second in the league and champions league it just isn’t enough for some our fans…. sad, just plain sad…. WIN, LOSE OR DRAW I AM PROUD OF OUR TEAM

  • Billy

    Disappointed as I felt we could’ve done a lot more, looking at videos of the Albacete game in ’96 and comparing with yesterday, it all seemed worlds apart. It was as if the team just expected that everything would be settled in the Camp Nou.

    Obviously they pushed for the goal, but I really didn’t think that the intensity or focus was at the level it should’ve been especially before Malaga scored. Not sure if it was only me, but it didn’t seem whilst watching that we were just a goal away from such a monumental achievement.

    Was devastated for the first hour or so after the game but feeling much more confident now. We need to look forward and look at the bigger picture, we are three points ahead going into the last day.

    Playing away at Barcelona, Chelsea or Milan seems to suit our style more than Malaga, Granada or Elche at home, and in the real make or break games, Cholo is yet to get it wrong. The team obviously knows big this is, could well be decades before we get another chance, and I think they’ll rise to the challenge. We can do it.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    @MR : if I understood you correctly, if we lost the title then all the hard work and the sacrifices those players gave all the season will mean nothing
    is that what you believe ?!

    and according to you, Simeone failed to mentally manage the team in the last 2 games
    Simeone .. the king of motivation, the man who one journalist wrote a book last year just about his methods of motivation !
    the man who picked up his team after a 5-0 defeat in agg. vs Real in the cup to put them in the “league final” and CL final when everybody thought that Atleti season is over
    the man who convinced his players that they can beat Real at the Bernabeu in the cup final after a 14-year-old curse .. and they did

    we didn’t win because he mismanaged those 2 games
    it was because they were the 58th and the 59th game for Atleti this season
    playing most of them with a group of 15 players because we don’t have a strong bench like those of Real and Barca

    La Liga kept moving from Barca’s hand to our hand to Real’s hand to our hand again
    this is what happen in normal leagues, and we were the ones who made La Liga normal again
    you know what also happens in normal leagues ?! .. to beat big teams and lose or draw against smaller teams
    it didn’t just happen to us, but also to Real & Barca
    and just happened few weeks ago to Chelsea & Man City from Sunderland, and to Chelsea & Liverpool from Crystal Palace

    You have all the right to be disappointed if we lost the title, and trust me, those players will be much more disappointed than you .. than any Atleti fan, they are the ones who been suffering for 10 long months, they are the ones who have to play 61 games in one season (more than any other team) and could end up without any title

    BUT you can not be ungrateful,
    you can not say if we lost the title then all what they did doesn’t matter
    it may not matter to the media, and it probably will not be remembered in the history that we had a great season

    if we lost the title I will be devastated .. I may even shed a tear
    but I will never be angry at Simeone or his players ..
    I will stand up and applaud them
    and if you can’t find an excuse for them if they lost the title, I will find a 100 excuse

  • Yon

    So it seems Diego Costa won’t be playing at the Calderon again………….

  • Ali

    Diego costa is leaving!!
    And courtois and lukaku are coming to atleti..
    He betrayed us just like he did to Brazil..
    But there is a good news if lukaku joins us and maybe we should buy immobile or carlos bacca.. They both will be sincere to us just like koke and forlan.
    I believe we will be stronger even more stronger next season!!

  • Lol we scored 69 goals at home this year :3 Thats nearly 4 a game :O
    We have fucked so many teams at home this year now wonder we finished on 69 goals 😛

  • Brad

    If we’d put up anywhere near that on the road, or in certain home games *cough* Malaga *cough* the team would be resting up for the Champions League Final

  • AaX

    ALL that I KNOW… That Simeone Won’t consent in letting BOTH Costa and Courtois leave Atletico and if and Only if one of them have to, then He will Ultimately end Up fighting for Courtois for the security of Atletico. We won’t really get that continuously fortunate to get another Great replacement after De Gea was sold and Stunningly replaced by Courtois, we should break the bank for him as for the future of Atletico along with Simeone Equally. That has made Man United with Schmeichel and this will make Atletico de Madrid with Courtois (I know! I am around to see the similarities). But somehow I Pray that Miraculously they BOTH would still end up as Atletico de Madrid Players.

  • Farzad from Iran

    why??why???we should have stress for next week,,,,,,,,,,playing in barcelon is so hard but its not harder than playing in london ,,,,,,we will win if GOD WANT

  • Atleti10

    I am quite sure Courtois will return to Chelsea and bar a miracle Costa will be going with him. Costa leaving is based on money, Chelsea will double his wage maybe triple it. What frustrates me is that we are giving Villa a supposed 190,000 a week. Why cant we let him move on and offer Costa a bigger contract.

    On the matter of titles I will be upset if we dont win one. Everyone is proud of course but the fact of the matter is we have had two winable matches and we have slipped up in both. The club needs to win one to be able to hold onto the likes of Costa. Nobody remembers second place. I want us to win for the future stability of the club as much as the joy of victory.

  • Kris

    Soooo….. Four Atleti players made the cut for the Spanish World Cup Squad. Juanfran, Koke, Doego Costa, David Villa. I’m pretty sure all four maybe with the exception of David Villa if he fails to perform these last two games will make the full squad. Great achievement. When was the last time four Atleti players were in the World Cup squad for Spain?

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    @ATLETI10 : I’m sure the club has already thought of what you’re thinking, letting Villa leave and use his big salary to raise Costa’s
    but it’s up to Costa, or in fact, to his agent, Jorge El Diablo Mendes

    and I don’t think titles make players stay and lack of them make them leave,
    Aguero left after Europa League & UEFA Super double, and Falcao left after 3 titles, while Gerrad stayed at Liverpool all his career despite never wining the EPL

    some would say that Aguero has won 2 EPL which can never be compared to Europa League & UEFA Super Cup, that’s right, but he didn’t know that, and nobody expected that, Man City won the EPL twice because Man Utd dropped very easy 5 points in the last 4 weeks in 2012 then Liverpool did exactly the same in 2014
    He left for money

    and what about Falcao who left the best league in the world, La Liga to a small league like Ligue 1, and for Monaco who didn’t play in Europe this season which is the 4th season in a row for Falcao with no Champions League Football .. and he is 28-year-old !! .. but he believed it’s worth it for 17 million tax-free per year

    It is money what make them leave and loyalty what makes them stay
    and in this sick era of football history, there are many footballers who are after money, but you hardly find a loyal one, or one who are after glory

    but the fact that no one can deny is that Atleti is getting stronger every time they sell a star
    since returning to La Liga in 2002, we are getting better year after year
    we have been climbing a very high and difficult mountain for 12 years, and finally we are about to reach the top, but the most important & the most difficult is to stay at the top and don’t fall .. again !

  • Luis

    I agree with Billy – I watched the highlights of THAT Albacete game and the intensity just wasn’t the same. It would’ve been ideal to win the league at home, rest players and get the guard of honour at the Nou Camp but then again we are Atleti and insist on doing things the hard way!

    Ending this season without winning a cup would be heartbreaking. I really can’t see this situation happening again and it would be criminal to pass it up. Saying that, we mustn’t be pessimistic as the work and effort that the team has put in for us has been incredible.

    Very proud of the players who are going to Brasil as well, not just for Spain but everyone. Another sign of how far we’ve come. Aupa Atleti!

  • Farzad From IRan

    costa will leave next year he spoke with chelseas manegars and it was sucessfull he will go london with 32pound

  • starvs

    I don’t buy anything I’ve read about Costa. He probably will go to Chelsea, but you def can’t get me to believe it’s a done deal already and the price is settled on 32 mil pounds. Rumors.

  • Chewie

    I’ll believe Costa moved to Chelsea when I’ll see him wearing a blue shirt. So far he’s been all red and white.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    British media don’t report what they know, but what they wish

    Simeone was the first candidate to coach Man Utd even before Moyes was sacked by several months, then after he was sacked, Van Gaal was also a done deal, but nothing happened yet

    and if it is a done deal, then what about Courtois, is he a part of the deal, even for just one more loan season ?!
    Atleti need Courtois as bad as Chelsea need Costa, and we didn’t take advantage of this situation !
    we will give them Costa and not keep Courtois for at least one more season ?!
    we will give them Costa and not get Torres back ?!!

    and is it 30 pound or 32 or 39 ?!
    and why it is in pound, the buy-out clause is Costa’s contract is in euros

    and after his incredible season, why don’t we make Costa sign another contract with a bigger clause then sell him to whoever can pay it, if Chelsea can’t there are other billionaires who can
    we did the same with Aguero

    selling Costa for 40 or 45 m after Falcao was sold for 60, Cavani for 64 and Bale & Neymar for 100 m each is just a joke

    why we just let these bastards say whatever they want and concentrate on our 2 historical finals .. please !

  • Ali

    Believe me or not but lukaku has been offered in as part of costa,s deal and mourinho will keep torres because etoo and ba will leave so he needs second choice striker for costa and lukaku won’t accept to be a back up striker he wants to be first choice that’s why they are offering us lukaku ( permanent deal) and courtois on another loan deal as part of costa,s deal!!!

  • piserakos

    According to el economista we will sell costa for 44 million + Courtois (i think on loan) and we will buy Soldado for 18-20 millions and maybe also Bacca. They say that all the deals are allready done. I wouldn’t believed that if i didn’t read cerezo say “Barca for Courtois? I’m sure he will stay at Atleti, at least for one more season.”

  • Dircil

    @piserakos: oh no, Soldado is 28 or 29 and I don’t see it as a lucrative deal!

  • starvs

    Fuck Soldado for that price.

    Go get Dzeko…

  • starvs

    More accurately, fuck all this transfer talk, we got two massive finals coming up….

  • Ali

    Congratulation to jose Sosa he has been selected by Argentina coach for the World Cup I hope he goes to the World Cup with 7 players out of 30 will miss out..

  • Ali

    I just went in to check diego costa Wikipedia and it said that on 12 may atletico madrid agreed to sell costa at the end of the season for the fee of 32 million!!!
    It’s sad news for all the atleticos even I cried he left us after just one good season…

  • kris

    Ali, I am not trying to be disrespectful but how old are you? You believe all this wikipedia bullshit? I can go and change what it says on that page for the world to see. Wikipedia is editable, anybody can add anything on to it. And as Abraham Lincoln once said, “Don’t believe everything you see on the internet!”

  • kris

    On another note, very happy for Sosa. Well deserved call up for him. Hopefully he makes the 23 man squad, because he’s very effective whenever you need a great substitute for your team.

  • Atleti10

    I doubt Sky Sports news would have the headline “Chelsea agree Diego Costa deal” if were not true. Hopefully its not or we can offer Costa a contract that will make him stay but i fear the worst.

    However if he were to go I would love to see Lukaku come in, hes real quality. If it is true that Costas buyout is 32 milion then there will be no need for Chelsea to include him in the deal.

    On a side note Im really excited to see Saul in action for us next year.

  • Chewie

    Other news: Sosa’s loan will most likely be renewed for another season. Metallist still wants 10 m but we are not ready to pay it. Since Kharkiv where Metallist is located is a troubled region there’s no way Jose will come back.

    And so we have a great sub and a trusted occasional starter for one more year. Not a bad deal for me.

  • jeronamo

    And for those of you still worrying about the Diego Costa transfer before our two important finals, Costa has denied and even called the entire thing nonsense.

    Now can we focus on the upcoming game please?

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    “not a bad deal” is an understatement .. I think it’s a great deal

    and let’s see if in next season Kharkiv will still be a part of Ukraine !
    looks like Putin -your president, Chewie- is going to take Ukraine region after region and without shooting a single bullet !

    I read that Atleti is considering another option about Sosa : to send a request to FIFA asking to terminate his contract with Metalist due to Ukraine’s situation
    The interesting thing about that is what mentioned in the report that the head of FIFA committee responsible for such subject is the second vice-president of Real Madrid
    corruption and conflict of interests in FIFA has reached a very high and dangerous level

    @Jeronamo : I also said please yesterday but no one listened to me
    people just love rumors .. even if it upset them !
    they love it so bad that our friend Ali took his confirmation from wikipedia !!
    I was very angry so I didn’t reply, because if I did I would have said very bad things, but thankfully, Kris did reply to him very politely and very funny

    let me try one more time : Pleaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaase, enough rumors

  • Ian

    About this rumor thingy, I remember when we signed salvio, says for two seasons straight that we confirmed signing him, but after the second year it actually was confirmed, so I don’t really take the transfer news from seriously..
    Not until this site confirms it, or the clubs official site..

  • jeronamo

    Lol the way Kris replied made me laugh too…

    Who would you guys like to see start against Barca and brought on?

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Spanish papers are saying that Costa has recovered,
    so we should start with our perfect XI :
    Arda-Koke-Raul Garcia

    (considering RG8 is better than Villa, and of course he is)

    But I was surprised when I read at AS that those 11 have never started together this season
    They are all regular starters, so I actually looked up our line-ups this season, and they really never started together
    in many games, 10 of them have started together, but not the all the 11
    even when El Cholo began to bench Villa and start with Raul, there was always at least one missing due to injury or suspension
    and the man never complained .. what a great person !

    The real question is : who should sit on the bench ?!

    if we started with those XI, then we should have all our attacking players on the bench in case we needed to score
    Villa, Diego, Sosa & Adrian obviously should be on the bench, beside Aranzubia & Toby of course
    those are 6, so there is one spot left .. who should take it ?!
    Insua, just in case Filipe got injured or sent off ?!
    or Cebolla, another attacking solution who also can play as a left back since he is the only lefty player other than the 2 left backs ?!
    or Mario, in case we lost one of the 2 CM Gabi & Tiago which is the most important position when you play Barca, or if we needed to play with 3 CM to the close the midfield if we were leading ?!

    Simeone has a lot of thinking to do !

  • Chewie

    I’d like to see the strongest and fittest defensive/counter-attacking formation. Start with the usual 11 and then make positional subs. If things go bad, employ all the firepower.

  • Chewie

    Totally agree with Ahmad’s selection.

  • jeronamo

    Considering how he started Adrian in the second leg against them i may not be shocked if he used him again. Personally i also agree with the starting 11 Ahmad suggested but maybe we could mix things up a little and play with Costa on top while being backed by Arda, Koke, Diego, Gabi and Tiago, just to create loads of control in the middle of the park but that’s not going to happen so definitely our usual 11

  • Abdullah Karam

    Adrain insted of arda , then arda as a sub is better
    To have a solid sub and tito will think about this and he will make a mistakes by attaking us hard and adrian will be lethal with diego costa or villa ,, then we but arda to control the game if we were winning and if it draw or losing we will have arda as a solid sub to give boost to our men if he came as a sub !!
    Aupa Atleti

  • Abdullah Karam

    BTW guys Lima “Benfeca” is a good option i think ..
    Powerful leg , energy & youth !!

  • Abdullah Karam

    Sorry he is 30 yrs ,, my mistake 🙂

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    @Abdullah : Tito is dead

  • Jeronamo

    Lol I’m sure he meant Tata

  • Ali

    Guys c’mon I’m only 18 and I’m fifa(game)addicted person that’s why I love rumors it’s not my fault that I’m immature!!

  • Ali

    Btw arda should be starter cuz he will eat up adriano if adriano starts!

  • kris

    So there’s going to be two European Champions from La Liga. La Liga RULES Europe!! Sad everybody still wants to leave to England tho…

  • big up

    Normally I’d put Adrian or Raul next to Costa, if hes really fit
    But so far Villa was really good against his former employer, he knows how to position himself very well against them and seemingly works harder too
    I think it might be better to put Costa on in second half and start like this
    Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godín, Filipe; Tiago, Gabi; Raúl, Koke; Adrián, Villa.

    Bench: Bounou, Alderweireld, Mario, Sosa, Diego, Arda, Costa.

    Although Cebolla might be a good sub too, with his pace. Mario could start instead of Tiago.

  • big up

    That way there’s pace against barça which is pretty useful and if needed, much offensive prowess on the bench to force something!

  • jeronamo

    @ Ali its ok bro, I understand lol

  • Ali

    Sosa or arda should start instead of adrian because of their pace..
    And @kris footballers go to england for money from fulham to manchester city every player has higher salary even Marouane Chamakh of crystal palace earns more money then arda.
    And in other footballing countries like France , Germany or Spain one or two teams pay higher salaries like psg , barca , real and bayern and juventus don’t pay higher salaries their best player pirlo earns only 3.5 m per year that’s only 15 to 20 percent salary aderbayor earns!

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    That’s OK Ali .. it is really not your fault that you’re “immature” .. most of your generation are
    (sorry for all the teenagers here)
    I think the 80s generation (my generation) and the 70s generation were more mature than the 90s & the 2000s generations when they were at the same age

    all this technology stuff has ruined you in too many levels
    but you are the internet generation, so you should have known how “wikipedia” works!!

    Kris, that was the 6th Europa League title for Spanish clubs in the last 11 years, imagine what can they do if there was a fair TV money distribution !!
    and that’s actually why are all the players want to go to England .. the money

    Do you know how much money will Sevilla (The Champions of Europa League) earn from the competition ?!
    when Atleti won it in 2012 they earned less than 10 million

    no money from La Liga and no money from Europa League
    only the clubs that play in The Champions League can keep their players, and not by participating in it for 2 or 3 seasons, but you have to play in the CL for 6 or 7 seasons in a row to reach a financial balance, and no one managed to do that in the last years except Real & Barca who don’t even need the CL money !

    it’s less than 10 % of their budgets, but it’s more than 30 % of Atleti & Valencia budget, and maybe 50 % or more of the budget of Sevilla, Villareal, Malaga, Sociedad & Athletic

    Finally : if Atleti won the CL, could we see Rakitic playing with us against Sevilla in UEFA Super Cup ?! .. let’s hope both

  • Ali

    @ahmed internet has ruined many peoples life considering how facebook brought revolution in Egypt!

  • Ali

    Including mine as well!!

  • Ali

    And how cruely gaddafi was killed in Libya it’s internet and news media that is ruining peoples lives and cruely Syrian rebels cut innocent peoples head!!
    That’s all I know how internet and media effects society!!

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Calm down Ali,
    I said “technology”, not the internet
    and I said “ruined you” not “ruined your life”
    and by you I meant your generation not you personally

    the younger generations read less, exercise less and have less social activities than the older generations
    we didn’t had what you have right now, but we had a great childhood and a great youth .. trust me, your generation is missing a lot of great things

    I don’t know why are you so upset, I’ve nothing against you, I was talking generally about what I’ve noticed about your generation, including my sister, my cousins, my nephews & my neighbors

    If I’ve said anything wrong then I’m sorry and I take it back

    and I’ve nothing against the internet either 🙂
    without the internet we would not be having this conversation !

    and I know you were being sarcastic, but sadly, after 3 years, Egyptian revolution has really turned to be a bad thing
    now we have a worse regime than the one we had before Jan 25 revolution

    and just out of curiosity, since you know I’m from Egypt, where are you form ?

  • Ali

    The terrorism republic of pakistan!
    I’m from a country where honest and polite leaders are killed and corrupt and UN and Israeli puppets are our president or prime minister!
    Every Muslim country is in crises! my first cousin was murdered 3 days ago in His apartment in Kaula lampur!
    Only Western European countries and Canada are the safest countries in the world even in USA you don’t mess up with black niggas or they will kill you!
    Btw leave that! That’s how the world is going!
    And @ahmed who do you prefer to start arda adrian or Sosa ?

  • Ali
  • Abdullah Karam

    @ahmad tito or tata a neck names and i wrote it mybe quickly so its my mistake ,, forgive me dear 🙂

  • Chewie

    On the second thought, I’d start with Sosa and Adrian to make effective defensive subs possible later in the game. There’s a big chance that these two will not be able to get into the game as subs so they should be either playing from the start or not playing at all.

  • Dircil

    i dont know what has happened to Sosa but he used to be a decent player!

  • Chewie

    @Dircil, reality is what always happens. He got unlucky with his club selection once or twice, maybe he didn’t fit the formations well, and then he moved to Ukraine. Remember Mourinho’s words about Eto’o after his move from Anzhi – when a player spends some time in a league like Russian he needs to work hard to get used to real football. Sosa’s in great hands though – no one can motivate a player and bring out the best in him better then Simeone. Hopefully next season we’ll see the man shine.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Maybe Sosa was unlucky with Bayern, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t make a mistake by going to Ukraine,
    He went there for money, as Ukraine’s top clubs are very rich and pay a lot, and that also what made Drogba go to China and Eto’o to Russia and Luca Toni to UAE among many other examples of players who went to very small and weak leagues to get big loads of money while they still had a lot of football in them, most of them were under 33, while others -including Sosa- were under 30

    The funny thing is that all the players I mentioned came back to Europe again,
    Simeone saved Sosa (who was in Europe but he moved to real Europe)
    Drogba didn’t find the money he was promised in China and moved to Galatasaray
    While Anzhi’s president (Eto’o club) woke up some day to find the price of copper (or some other metal) which is the majority of his fortune has dropped 80 % so he sold all his stars #TrueStory
    while I don’t know what brought Luca Toni back to Italy to join Fiorentina after only 8 months in UAE, maybe he couldn’t handle the heat !

    and yet, many players are keep making the same mistake, including our Tiago who was thinking to go to UAE since the last season, and he still does
    imagine if he left last season then we won La Liga or the CL or both this season !

    Human is a very weird creature .. and money make him weirder

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    @Ali from Pakistan : I remember you, you keep complaining about the situations in your country .. may Allah help you

    I asked where are you from because there is another Ali here, I think he is from Lithuania

    But since you are the Pakistani one -beside being 18- we should cut you some slack, because there is no big football culture in Pakistan, it’s at the end of the list of popular sports there after Cricket, Volleyball, Badminton and Squash, and maybe some other sports

    There are very few football fans in Pakistan, and among the 180 million, you could be the only Atleti fan there !

    And by the way, there was a big rivalry in Squash between Egypt and Pakistan in the late 90s and the early 2000s .. but Egypt is dominating the world now 😉

  • Chewie

    Yeah, I guess moving from Metallist to Atletico is like fleeing a sinking ship to jump on a space shuttle. Sosa is one lucky bastard.

    About football cultute. Have you seen the news about fans taking over the football field here in St. Peterburg and one of them punching a player in a face? Outrageous stuff!

  • rockefeller

    Hey Ahmad! My country, Malaysia can rival both countries in squash too!

  • Brad

    Football culture is pretty interesting. If you have the opportunity, you should read “How Soccer Explains Everything”. I just finished it a couple weeks ago and it’s a pretty interesting read.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    @Rockefeller : Malaysia is doing great in women’s squash
    but in men’s competition you are not even close to Egypt
    in the last rankings, Egypt had 7 players in the top 20, the closest country to it was England with 4 players

    but I always wished to have one Egyptian Tennis player in the top 100 rather than having all the top 20 or even top 50 in squash
    but the low cost and hence the big number of squash fields (or should I call them boxes ?!) made many Egyptians choose it over tennis which cost a lot in a poor country like us

  • Ali
  • Adnan Khan

    Ali, i am a pakistani too and i agree with alot of what you have mentioned, but saying you are from ” the terrorism republic of Pakistan” it’s not a good thing to say. Btw where in pakistan are you from? It’s cool to have a fellow pakistani atl mad fan here 🙂

    And for further discussion let’s try to hold the politics out from here.

  • Ali

    @adnan khan I’m from sindh and currently reside in khi.

  • Luis

    Let’s try to hold the squash out from here too

  • Adnan Khan

    Aha that’s cool Ali, MQM se bach ke rehna : P

  • colcho

    Hello everyone.

    I’m from Israel and I think it’s great that there are so many Atleti fans from the middle-east.
    It’s not easy to live in our regions but it’s nice to see how football unites people.

    Keep calm and trust Cholo.

  • AaX

    I am from the 70s generation. So The Key is to Use technology not be used by It (which means a significant of will power against desires must be practiced) and you will learn more. Strife To Live The Normal Social Interactive life (good manners, quality face to face). EVADE from being Technological but ‘Artificial’ (beside internal ignorance, imperialist are counting on this. In the End the Human Being is the Most Perfect of Creation. If successfull in doing this, We will Live Naturally Free. PEACE

    And Money Can’t Attain Success. Only Help Sustains It. The World of Atletico already is A Bigger Success, Now is To ‘Sustain’ It. TRUE VICTORY LASTS

  • starvs

    This has taken all types of turns… if Costa goes to Chelsea and we don’t get Lukaku back I’ll be pissed.

  • Ali

    And the biggest thing pakistan,s karachi and india,s Mumbai is that , their political leaders like Anna hazare and altaf hussain are biggest criminals and underworld don of thier respected cities!!
    It would be a great day tomorrow if atleti wins la liga and hull city wins fa cup!!

  • Ali

    Btw anyone has a report of how oliver is progressing?

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    @AAX : a lot of wisdom in few words .. thank you

  • AaX

    THE Next Agenda should be about Transforming the Club from a Rising Super Star Gallery Brokerage into A Recruitment and Development Centre for World Class Football Players.

    WE Have Far Higher Aspiration and Caliber, Genuine Honour and Pride with Unmatchable Spirit to continue to sell off to the Foolish Nonsensical.




    Let’s Get Back to Our FOCUS Now, The TITLES !

    @Ahmad : Welcome. So Are You. So are We. Salam

  • AaX

    THE Next Agenda should be about Transforming the Club from a Rising Super Star Gallery Brokerage into A Recruitment and Development Centre for World Class Football Players.
    WE Have Far Higher Aspiration and Caliber, Genuine Honour and Pride with Unmatchable Spirit to continue to sell off to the Foolish Nonsensical.
    Let’s Get Back to Our FOCUS Now, The TITLES !
    @Ahmad : Welcome. So Are You. So are We. Salam