There were no new arrivals at the Vicente Calderón on transfer deadline day, but there was still drama as Atlético Madrid failed to offload flop signing Alessio Cerci.
Last year it was Raúl García, and in previous seasons we’ve seen the likes of Diego Forlán, John Heitinga and José Jurado depart on the final day of the window.
However, this could even surpass Heitingazo in terms of peculiarity.
Cerci had been set for a loan move to Bologna, but having travelled back to his homeland to sign on the dotted line, the move collapsed at the last minute after he failed a medical.
With nowhere else to go, he’s inexplicably found his way back into the fold and will be available for Cholo this season should he wish, having been named in both the Champions League and La Liga squads and given the number 17 shirt.
Cerci joined Atlético from Torino two years ago for a sizeable €19m, but failed to live up to expectations and was offloaded the following winter, used a makeweight in the deal to bring Fernando Torres home from Milan.
He didn’t impress at the San Siro either, joining Genoa earlier this year as the Rossoneri opted to cancel his loan with them. His form improved a little at his new club, but was cut short in May as he suffered a knee ligament injury.
After undergoing surgery in Barcelona, he returned to Atleti for pre-season to work on his rehabilitation, training separately as the rojiblancos looked desperately all summer to find someone, anyone, to take him off their hands.
Bologna swooped late on, but were supposedly not convinced by his fitness and in the end opted not to sign him, with club president Claudio Fenucci admitting his return would be “longer than anticipated”.
Reports state that he’ll be out until November or December, and although that basically rules him out of contention even if Cholo did want to play him before he’s inevitably put on the market again in January, the club have still opted to include him in their squads for the season.
With Copa del Rey matches in winter, there could be an outside chance of him featuring in the early rounds to put himself in the shop window and allow other players to rest, but even that seems pretty far-fetched.
Countless offsides, a ridiculous red card on one of his first matches against Valencia and a training hurdle sent sprawling were some of the more ‘memorable’ moments of Cerci’s disastrous first spell in red and white.
He did find the net in a Champions League thrashing of Malmö, but it did little to distract from his questionable attitude and apparent lack of effort which saw his involvement limited before moving to Milan.
It’s true that he was once an exciting player, earning his big money move and a World Cup call up after getting into double figures for goals and assists with Torino in 2013/14.
Judging by how his career has dwindled since then though, a reprieve for the red and whites is probably about as likely as an atmosphere at the Bernabéu this season.
See our full Champions League squad here.
What do you make of the Cerci situation? Could he be the man to lead us to European glory…?