Raúl Jiménez: I’m fighting for my place at Atlético

Our summer signing still commited to making it in Madrid

The Mexican has scored one goal in all competitions for Atleti

The Mexican has scored one goal in all competitions for Atleti

He may have been handed the number 11 shirt as soon as he walked through the doors of the Vicente Calderón, but Raúl Jiménez is finding it much harder to come across some playing time.

The 23-year-old Mexican has only enjoyed 383 minutes of playing time in the league so far this season, out of a possible 1,980 minutes. That’s 20 per cent of the total minutes played by Atleti. He’s had three starts in all competitions, and has made 14 substitute appearances. He’s scored one goal.

Some will argue he hasn’t been given an opportunity. Even more will argue that he hasn’t taken his chances.

However it seems that Jiménez has something that his fellow summer signing Alessio Cerci didn’t – the will to stay and fight for his place.

“In Club America, it was tough to become a starter. I accomplished it. Here I’m fighting and I’m just getting started. I’m fighting for a place, and I hope to earn it,” he told beIN Sports.

“Each time I set foot onto the pitch I feel more comfortable. With each training session and game I feel more confident.”

The gem of Mexican football faces stiff competition for a starting berth. Not only does he have to compete with Antoine Griezmann, who has 12 goals this season, and Mario Mandzukic, who has scored ten, but he also now needs to compete with the arrival of a club legend – Fernando Torres.

“Torres is a player from which I can learn a lot,” Jiménez said of El Niño’s return. “He’s a player who is already familiar with Atlético, and he has had many great moments here.”

“Competition between players is what makes us all better. It’s something that drives you to give your all and never give up. It’s good for the team.”

There was rumours that Raúl Jiménez was unhappy at Atleti, and that he would be pushing for a move as soon as possible, perhaps in the winter transfer window. This is not the case, according to the player.

“The truth is that I didn’t really have any intention of leaving. Yes, I do want to play more, but I know that I need to work hard. I know I need to fight for a place here. Atlético is a great club, and I’m a player who likes challenges.”

It remains to be seen what sort of opportunity falls Raúl Jiménez’ way in the closing three months of the season.

What do you make of Jiménez’ attitude? Would you be happy to give him a start ahead of Griezmann or Mandzukic?


  • Chewie

    When he first came to us, he seemed a bit confused – adapting to Atletico’s (and Spanish) football is not an easy task. But then he started to grow more and more eager, too energetic even, although chances for him remained scarce and he hadn’t a chance to truly shine.

    I read recently Forlan’s column where he talked about Falcao, saying that a striker can’t play well unless he’s playing regularly (he also wrote about the derby, by the way http://www.thenational.ae/sport/primera-liga/diego-forlan-classy-raul-summed-up-the-real-madrid-side-my-atletico-team-could-never-beat). I guess that’s the case with Jimenez. He has the physique, the talent, the skill and the attitude but he has no experience and simply doesn’t play.

    On the other hand, there’s really no reason for him to leave soon, it would be the most stupid thing he could do. Having a chance to train under Simeone’s (the real coach of the year) guidance in a close-knit club with three excellent strikers (a legend, a classy centre-forward and a rising star) whose range of expertise is vast as hell, is not something you can easily get. And there’s always a chance that injuries/suspensions will give him an opportunity to prove himself.

    I’m not sure, though, how will things stand after Correa returns.
    I’d give Jimenez a chance but he better don’t waste it.

  • I read Forlan’s column in ” The National ” every week
    I’ve always said that Forlan wasn’t just a great footballer, but a great person as well, humble, polite, intelligent & sophisticated .. imagine someone like Diego Costa trying to write a column !
    I heard somewhere that Forlan played tennis at his youth, but then he switched to football, the career of his father and grandfather

    It still hurts me when I remember the way he left the club, and that he wasn’t lucky enough to play under Simeone, he left just 4 months before El Cholo came

    Forlan deserved better from the club .. and I think he also deserved more from the fans

  • I think the only reason that Jimenez didn’t leave like Cerci is that there was no possible move for him except going back to Club America
    But that doesn’t mean I don’t have faith in him, I do, but does Simeone ?! .. it doesn’t seem to me that he does
    But he will need him, just like he needed Adrian in the last meters of the last season, and he didn’t let him down, although it wasn’t enough to keep him after 2 disappointing seasons except the 2 great games vs Barca & Chelsea
    So, could Jimenez exploit the chance that I’m pretty sure it will come to him in the few months remaining of this season ?!
    I have a feeling that he will

    By the way, we should thank Caminero and his team for realizing that Jimenez can’t move for a 3rd club, although it’s number 1 on the sport director’s job description !
    but nobody in Newcastle, Nice or the sports media in England and France realized that about Ben Arfa, just like the “great” AS & MARCA kept reporting rumors about loaning Jimenez to Getafe and Rayo, and I kept repeating that it is not possible
    I’m not that smart, but those idiots make me look like a genius !

  • Chewie

    Yes, there’s also that very practical reason. Costa is a dog, look at this video and you’ll understand his real nature: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0bEpel9AAE

  • starvs

    The tennis thing would make sense, saw him at the Madrid Tennis Open (not sure the actual name, but an ATP event) in 2008 when I was there.

    He and Falcao seem a like to me (personally, not sporting wise, although there is some there too).

  • Well, many sportsmen love to attend other sports events in different sports than the one they play
    In Spain, we usually see the stars of Real Madrid and Barcelona in Basketball games since both clubs have basketball teams, and in Madrid Masters every year we see the stars of Real Madrid,
    (ATP World Tour 1000 Masters Series, Madrid, that’s its name, big tennis fan as well)
    just like we have seen Roger Federer in some games for FC Basel in the CL

    And Atleti stars are no exception, they also always in Madrid Masters, and they used to attend the big games of our Handball team before it was shout down (for second or third time), and Arda always attend the games of Galatasaray in Basketball Euroleague when they come to Madrid
    But the difference is that nobody cares too much about our stars, I remember watching a game in Madrid Masters few years ago and Casillas, Romos & Cristiano were on the screen almost all the time, and after the game I knew form social media that Maxi & Simao were at the same game, but I didn’t see them even once on TV

    So, Forlan being in a tennis game doesn’t necessary mean that he is a big tennis fan, he could be just having fun or supporting a friend or a compatriot, just like many other footballers
    The problem is that many people don’t see us in the same way they see the others.