Atlético Madrid have not had much luck on the injury front this season, but were handed a timely boost this week as Diego Godín and Tiago returned to training ahead of schedule.
The rojiblancos will need to call on all of their experience going into next month’s Champions League clash with Barcelona, and should be able to welcome back two of their key figures soon following their respective set-backs.
Neutral fans were licking their lips at the prospect of Europe’s best attack taking on the best defence when the quarter-final draw was made, but originally it appeared that Atleti would have to face MSN without their three best defenders.
With Stefan Savic already out, Simeone ended last week with just one fit centre-back after Uruguayan duo Godín and José María Giménez limped out of the matches against PSV and Sporting Gijón.
Reports stated that Lucas Hernández, only just 20 and yet to make his full debut in the Champions League, would partner the versatile Saúl Ñíguez at the back in Barcelona, but thankfully it now seems that the leader of our Uruguayan wall will be back in good time.
Godín has gotten used to braving his way through injury in his time at Atleti, notably playing over 70 minutes with a broken nose in the 4-0 derby win last year, but many were expecting a race against time over his fitness going into the game.
However, he was back on the training field with a smile on his face this morning, and despite being separated from the rest of the group, he does have twelve days to fully recover ahead of the season defining trip to the Camp Nou.
Giménez remains a doubt, but according to Mundo Deportivo, Savic is scheduled to start work again this weekend and could be in contention for our next match against Real Betis on April 2nd.
As for Tiago, it’s not even been four months since he was forced off against Espanyol with a horrifying leg break, but he was also back on the pitch at Atleti’s training Cerro del Espino and even working with the ball this week.
The 34 year-old has worked tirelessly throughout his rehabilitation process, and although the club will be careful not to rush him back, it looks as if he is on track to play again before the end of the season.
It may be too soon for him to feature against Barça, but his presence could be vital going into the run-in as Cholo’s men continue to compete both in Europe and domestically.
We should hopefully hear news on his contract soon too, with his current deal set to expire in the summer.
Most of the squad are currently with their international sides, with just Gabi, Vietto, Thomas, Moyà and Gámez available to Simeone this week.
Still, the break should give Godín, Savic and Giménez a chance to prepare fully for the upcoming matches rather than jet off around the world.
Now nine points behind Barcelona at the top of La Liga, the priority for Atleti is the Champions League, but they will continue fighting in both competitions and also look to tie up second place ahead of Real Madrid, who play in El Clásico next Saturday.
How would you line-up in the Camp Nou if you were in charge?