Matchday LIVE: Atlético vs. Rayo

Wholesale changes for red and whites as they look for another win in title bid


Atlético Madrid face local rivals Rayo Vallecano in the Vicente Calderón this evening, with both teams desperate for the three points for very desperate reasons.

Cholo has opted to make 7 changes from the side that beat Bayern Munich on Wednesday, giving some of our fringe players the chance to keep our title hopes alive against a side fighting to stay in La Liga.

You can prepare for the match by reading our Match Preview.

Starting XIs

Atlético: Oblak; Juanfran, Giménez, Lucas, Gámez; Gabi, Kranevitter, Óliver, Thomas; Correa, Vietto.

Rayo: Juan Carlos; Tito, Amaya, Crespo, Quini; Llorente, Jozabed, Embarba; Miku, Bebé, Javi Guerra.

  • AndersAT

    So much for not rotating, but good call I think, let’s hope the lads perform .

  • Sanil

    Started promising but now looking under threat a bit!

  • Kris

    For fucks sake can we stop with the long balls? We have players that are 5’7 and 5’8 up front. They won’t be able to…

  • Kris

    Shit first half. Koke in for Oliver. Griezmann in for Vietto. Filipe in for Gamez.

  • David

    Griezmann in golazo!!!

  • AndersAT

    I think Vietto and Oliver seems so lost in this team. I think they should be loaned out to a La Liga side next season (perhaps Rayo). Let them be regular starters somewhere, in a team playing some good football.

  • Kris

    Why not just let them go? They have no future in Atletico. That’s the harsh truth. Instead of tying them down to Atleti and loaning them out every season, let them go and develop somewhere else, where they will be playing football that suits them. Atletico doesn’t suit them.

  • AndersAT

    Call me a romantic, but I haven’t lost faith yet. They just need to play more seasons in Spain as regulars. Like Costa who was loaned out a couple of times.

  • Kris

    But look at how most players that continuously get loaned out. The likes of Diego Costa are an anomaly. Loanees don’t really get better, especially if they are getting loaned out every season to a different club as is the case for many players who get loaned out.

    I think Oliver Torres has been loaned enough, and he has proven he is good but Simeone doesn’t seem to trust him enough to get playing time. And in a game where he did get playing time, he looked frustrated and extremely low in confidence. I think it will be best for everybody to just move on.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I’m sorry, I really don’t mean to be disrespectful, but what the fuck are you talking about ?! Rayo !!
    Oliver was at Porto last season, a European giant, yes, a different league, much less than La Liga, but he also made a good campaign with them in UCL .
    While Vietto was the top scorer of Villarreal .
    Couldn’t you at least wait until we see if Rayo will be in Primera next season ?!

    I said this before, and I was also replying to you :
    A loan is for a young kid who needs more minutes to grow, Oliver and Vietto are not that anymore, as I said, they got the minutes they need at Porto & Villarreal .
    You also asked to loan Correa next season, which is even more ridiculous, again, with no disrespect .

    If Vietto and Oliver are not good for us then the answer is to sell them .
    I think Vietto is not good for us, but not Oliver, I can’t understand why he is criticized for today’s performance but Thomas is not ?! what did Thomas offer today in both attack and defense ?! and not just today, but except the 2 previous games against Rayo and the one against Levante, he didn’t do anything special in the other games he played .

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Agree with EVERY SINGLE WORD .

  • AndersAT

    Vietto was remarkable in Villareal so i think he has the potential. Torres is closing in on retirement. Correa is OK but not great. Who do you think we should use alongside Griezmann in 2017/2018 (if he is still here)? We can buy an attacker this summer (before the transfer ban probably) but that how many top attackers is out there for us too buy? and can we be sure that a new attacker would perform better than Vietto (take a look at Martinez). Besides Vietto hasn’t been loaned out before…

    Perhabs Oliver should leave. We have enough good midfielders, and i do not think there is room for Oliver next season, but i think it would be unwise to sell talented players before the transfer ban. And what if we can’t keep Koke and Saul (god forbid).

  • nandes

    Sad to hear some fans whistled Vietto as he was subbed off. It’s just an ugly act and does no good for anybody

  • AndersAT

    I disagree.

    Vietto and Oliver could evolve more at a different club than Atletico. It doesn’t hav to be Rayo, but Rayo has played good football, and been a good club for our players to get some regular La Liga playing time for years (but of course if they are not in la liga next year it would not be a good idea).

    I still don’t think Porto is a good club to loan players to because the league is way less competitive than la liga. As an Offensive player in Porto you have et way more easy than in a La Liga side.

    When i said we could loan out Correa i was talking about what we should do if we bought a new attacker. He barely gets the playing time he deserves now. Better for him to get some regular playing time than being benched.

    Vietto has shown himself as a great player (at Villereal) ONE season ago and we still have no long term solution for an attacker besides Griezmann. Great attackers are hard to come by and a do not think we should give up on him, but i think that for next season Torres and Correa are the better prospects.

    And Oliver is a good footballer. I also thinks he is more talented than Thomas, but i think Thomas has made a much bigger impact in the games he have played, and i think Oliver needs to grow some balls and get in the game. If Simeone don’t think he can use him, then so be it. But if Simeone thinks he needs time but could be useful in time, then better for him to get regular playing time than being benched.

    I really don’t understand why you want to sell our young talented players when we are about to get hit with a transfer ban.

    I respect your opinions and I disagree with a lot of them, but please keep your condescending remarks to yourself.

  • Ringo

    I do not think Oli and Vietto (and Correa) should be loaned out. It’s their first season (back) with the team and many players before them have walked this path. They just have to keep on progressing and believe in themselves and the power of the team.

    Technically Vietto had a bad year, but he has improved vastly on the physical part (mostly staminawise). Óliver has been a bit inconsistent, but he has shown some great things in some of his games. Correa is growing towards the consistency and is closest of the three to being first team material.

    All three could be the next Saúl, his previous season saw a whole lot less minutes than this one, too. Of course we cannot forget the loss of Tiago playing its part, but he has been replaced by Augusto. Gabi is already being sidelined in his good spells more oftenly, so Koke and Saúl (and even Thomas) in CM will be more of a common sight with every coming season, meaning there will be more space for Oli and Correa in midfield once they are more one with the defensive formations. Offensively they’re ready to be thrown in the deep already, but Cholo works from defense onwards. Once that is secure, you can show your other assets.

    Correa and to a lesser extent Vietto are already showing they are starting to lock down the high pressuring game, but while Óliver does work hard to defend along, his defensive efforts seem more of a solo effort sometimes. Perhaps it’s the communication… I don’t know. Again, offensively he’s ready, but defensively he needs to learn how to “suffer” like the rest of the team to be a true part of it. I hope this time comes soon. Carrasco is great, but some rotation with other types of players would get us forward so much more.

    I don’t think Cholo hates Óliver. Perhaps he wants to “change” him too much. Óliver is struggling with that change, but I feel he can do it. Well, I hope so. Correa’s coming is a certainty. I just hope he’s not alone in his rise.

  • Ringo

    In hindsight, all our new young players, except for those who came as big signings, struggled hard in their first season. Especially those coming back from loan spells. Costa and Saúl come to mind the clearest. Eventually (although one is still in progress – but the whole world wanting him signed says a lot) they both turned into stars in/halfway their second season.

    If this is rule with us, we might have three new superstars in about six-eight months.

    One can dream.

  • Koke

    I agree with AndersAT on this, I think those two should be loaned out and not sold. I am sure that Oliver is going to reach a world class level, Vietto I am less sure but there’s definitely a good chance he can be great again. They need MINUTES though so that they can grow in confidence and experience. They need to be in a team where they are valued players, not being treated like dirt at Atleti where they barely get 10 minutes per every 4 games.

    And why are people saying that loaning players doesn’t work? Look at Saul Niguez. Right now he’s a complete beast, but I am not sure he could have been as brave and confident at his young age if he wasn’t on loan as a starter in Rayo Vallecano as a teenager. Look at Thomas, who I am sure would be worse if he had spent the last couple seasons on our bench instead of at Almeria. Look at Diego Costa. We have a history of letting players go and then bringing them back, and they almost always come back better than when they left. I think the real problem with Oliver and Vietto isn’t that they aren’t good enough, or even that they don’t fit Atleti’s system. I think their problem is that they aren’t ballsy enough, not experienced or confident enough, and with Simeone’s Atleti that’s one of the most important things you need to succeed. That’s why Cerci and Jackson Martinez failed too, they don’t have an imposing enough character despite their talent.

    In terms of “fitting,” I think Simeone’s team has evolved a lot over the past two years (not enough, in my opinion, but at least a little). Before we signed them, I didn’t think Griezmann or Carrasco would have “fit” our system, even though I was so happy we signed them. I am sure if you put Saul’s personality in Oliver Torres’ body, Oliver would be getting just as many minutes despite playing a completely different style.

  • Koke

    I agree. It’s not the end of the world for players at that age and in this team if they spend even a whole season barely playing. Obviously it sucks for Oliver and Vietto on a personal and professional level, but it in no way means that they don’t have a future here, as some people are suggesting. How many players have been baptized the “Simeone way”, where they seem to be virtually ignored for months and months until something finally clicks for them, and they become regulars?

    Saul: Early last year he wasn’t getting “enough” minutes. Many fans thought he’d be better off getting loaned out. There were rumors that he/his father wanted him to move elsewhere, that’s how little he was playing. Look where he is now.

    Lucas: I barely even knew what he looked like for the first half of this season! Before and during the season everyone wanted him to be loaned out, because he NEVER played. And now? Starting Champion’s League games against Barcelona and looking like a natural.

    Gimenez: I think this kid got more games at the WORLD CUP with Uruguay than he did in his first season with Atleti. Simeone just never seemed to want to play him. Now he is in my opinion the world’s best center back in his age range, and a starter.

    Oblak: BARELY used for the early part of his first season. I was baffled at how we paid so much for him and couldn’t even start him. Now? One of the world’s top 5 goalkeepers and a household name.

    Hell, even GRIEZMANN found life to be a bit tough in his first few months as an Atleti player. I constantly found myself checking the lineup 15 minutes before the game and being frustrated because he was on the bench and Raul Garcia was in his place. Other players that had to wait a long ass time for their big break: Thomas, Correa, Carrasco for a couple months, Kranevitter to this day, Savic, etc etc.

    Now, am I saying that Oliver and Vietto should stay here and remain on the bench until their lucky day? NO. I think they should be loaned out, because confidence and experience are the only things keeping them out of our team right now, and they won’t find those things by sitting on the bench. The extensive writing above was only in response to the people saying that just because they seem underused in their FIRST FULL SEASON with Atleti, they must be doomed to never succeed here.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I do respect your opinions too, and I really didn’t mean any disrespect as I said, but I just couldn’t find another way to emphasize my disagreement with you about loaning Vietto & Oli to Rayo, I mean come on !
    I know we loaned Costa to them, but Costa wasn’t in a good place like them, before Rayo he was loaned to Celta & Albacete (both were playing at Segunda) and Valladolid, it took him a very long time to become a great striker, I just talked about that few weeks ago when I compared him to Lukaku and I said I prefer the Belgian over him. I think Vietto and Oliver are different cases .

    And believe me, I also hate selling our young talents, if you read my comments you would know that Oliver situation is killing me, just few days ago I said I was relieved when I knew he was dropped out of the list because he was injured !
    But what a third loan would do for him if Simeone just doesn’t trust him ?! he did good with Villarreal and he did great with Porto .
    Oliver’s problem is Simeone, he plays him out of his position, he doesn’t want him to keep possession, because he hates possession, he can’t be as good defensively as Gabi, and he can’t score as many goals as Correa, or score headers from corners and free-kicks as Saul, but he can have a very important role, but Simeone doesn’t want to give it to him .. it’s just not working, very sadly .

  • Kris

    You bring forth a good argument. I don’t disagree with you that it takes players time to settle in to Cholo’s team. That’s why when we were all being orgasmic about the trio of Griezmann, Martinez, Vietto in the summer, I was skeptic. That’s why I also believed that the players should be played more often to be “Cholofied”. But when it doesn’t work and it’s very evident that it doesn’t, as was the case for Jackson, it is really time to let go and move on, man.

    Now, would I love to have these players stay and fight for us? Absolutely, if it’s their will. But if it’s not their will to stay with us and they seem to not be suited for Cholo’s Atleti, we have to let them go.

    There’s no need to be selfish and try to keep a player just because of his potential when he just is not able to play for this team that Simeone has built. Yes, Simeone’s team has evolved, but it hasn’t evolved in any surprising way. The team hasn’t had a “mutation” yet.

    It is self-evident that Oliver is a good player(some would even call him a great player), so I think keeping him with us and hindering his growth and preventing him from being “world class” is very selfish. It’s clear that he will flourish in an environment that plays attacking football, not one that defends for 2/3 of the game. I will absolutely not tell Simeone to change his game to suit the needs of a few players when his plan is the most effective.

    Again, if the player has decided not to fight for his place at Atletico, then it’s time to let go. If he decides to stay and fight then we should let him.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    “Look at Saul” “Look at Costa” “Lookt at Thomas” , you are talking like Oliver wasn’t loaned as well, he was, twice .

    And if you think what Oliver and Vietto lack is personality, trust me, a loan spell or two or even ten won’t help them, if they lack personality then they don’t need to be loaned, they need therapy .

  • Kris

    I don’t want Simeone to change his game plan just to make sure that one player plays an important role in the team. This team isn’t built around a single individual. We play as a unit in a socialist manner, whether we all flourish together as a team or all wither together. There is no single star in the team, but there is the best player.

    I love Oliver and know he’s an amazing talent when he’s not playing a defensive game. That’s why I believe he should be let go if he wants to leave. Loaning is not the best idea for all parties involved in this particular case.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Me neither, his style has brought us 5 trophies, and we could add one or two this season, it’s true that I criticize it a lot, but because sometimes it’s very frustrating, especially against small teams, I just can’t help it at the heat of the moment !

    And as I repeated many times, I still think Oliver can fit in our system, a skillful and talented player like him can fit in any system, he made a very great half hour against Eibar where he played on the wing, both wings, but his minutes didn’t increase after that game, actually, they became less !
    Imagine the psychological effect of that on him .
    Saul made some poor games but he never lost his spot, Carrasco neither, despite making some HORRIBLE games, Thomas hasn’t been getting many minutes lately, but he did get some minutes in very big games, and he didn’t make anything special beside what he did against Levante & in two games against Rayo .

    With only 2 games left this season, my conclusion is that Simeone just doesn’t trust Oliver, and I don’t think this will ever change .

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    None of the examples you mentioned was loaned out (and we are talking about Saul after coming back from Rayo, right ?), not even Correa who was ineligible to play with us in the second half of last season after his recovery because there was no free non-Eu spot, not even the 19-year-old Lucas who had ZERO experience in top division football and desperately needed one .

    Oliver does NOT need more minutes or more experience, he needs to fit in, and he can’t do that when he is away for a 3rd loan spell .

    I really wish that Simeone still believe in him, and if he does then he should stay and fight, like all the players you mentioned, and like Raul Garcia who used to be booed and whistled at by our own fans .
    While if Simeone doesn’t have faith in him, or Oliver doesn’t want to stay and fight or thinks that our style is not good for him then sell him .

    A 3rd loan for Oliver is meaningless, I really think it’s very simple .

  • AndersAT

    I think you have some very good points. I still remember the first times Vietto trained under simeone and Burgos. He couldn’t even finish the training set. For these players in their twenties, if they are to have a future in Atletico, they probably need to train and play in a club with full intensity like Atletico. I can’t just now think of a club like that they could be loaned out to. So perhaps it would be better to keep them, and get them to grow some balls. I just think it is complicated with the amount of competition now, especially if we go out and by new players this summer to get ready for the transferban.

    No matter what I don’t think they should be sold of, unless they want to leave (or if Simeone can’t see them helping the team ever). no matter what I enjoy that we have so many young talented players in the squad. And I think we have a grand future.

  • Ringo

    Yeah they should stay. By the end of next season we’ll be able to judge them more fairly. Some players just need a lot more time to click with Simeone (and vice versa). They seem willing to work hard so I have faith they’ll be alright.