April turned out to be the pivotal month of the season for Atlético Madrid, and in the big moments, a number of players stepped up and made themselves counted.
Six league wins out of six were ultimately not enough to overhaul Barcelona at the top of La Liga, but Cholo’s men knocked the reigning champions out of Europe and also beat Bayern at the Calderón.
Whilst our defence was impenetrable as always, and Torres and Griezmann produced sparkling form up front, but it was the influence of one man in particular that really stood out.
He has taken criticism from some quarters this season for not matching the levels set in 2013/14 and some of last year, but Koke has looked better than ever in the rojiblanco midfield since the start of April.
The fact that the canterano’s upturn in form has coincided with Atleti’s title charge and run to the Champions League final is no coincidence, and at just 24, he is now one of the more experienced figureheads in the side.
Cholo originally planned to play him in a deeper midfield role this season, but those plans were put on hold after Arda Turan left and he has since had to take even more of the burden for creativity upon himself.
However, fourteen league assists – a total only bettered by Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi – represents his best ever return for a season in red and white, and just goes to show that he has taken the resonsibility in his stride.
His family name is Resurrección, and that is exactly what he has done to Fernando Torres’ career, playing the final pass for 4 of his 5 goals across the month as well as another in the defeat at Levante last week.
He also scored in the wins over Espanyol and Granada, and put in typically hard-working, energetic performances in the Champions League to prove that he can mix it with Europe’s elite.
Torres can feel aggrieved not to have taken the award himself, but just misses out on virtue of his red card in the Camp Nou that thankfully didn’t quite cost us as much as first feared.
The whole team deserves a mention for what they have done lately, with Jan Oblak, Gabi, Augusto particularly impressing. Lucas Hernández was also thrown in at the deep end for that clash with Barcelona, but was outstanding in both legs and is pushing hard for a regular place in the team.
However, Koke in this form really gives Atleti that bit extra, and if we are to come out victorious in the all important final in Milan at the end of the month, he will surely be at the heart of it.
Do you agree with our choice? Who else impressed you during April?