Atlético flew to Portugal Wednesday ahead of their Europa League play-off round second leg clash against Vitória de Guimarães.
Los Rojiblancos take a comfortable 2-0 lead, secured in last week’s game at the Vicente Calderón, into Guimarães’ D. Afonso Henriques Stadium.
Diego Forlán, who had initially been included in the match selection, did not travel with the team after receiving special permission from coach Gregorio Manzano to withdraw from the trip in order to resolve his future.
Canterano Borja González, who Manzano had previously left off the list, took Forlán’s spot on the squad.
Atlético issued the following statement via the club’s official Twitter account Wednesday:
“Forlán asked Manzano this morning not to travel to Guimarães because he is considering joining another team. Manzano authorised him to stay in Madrid because Atlético have a lot at stake and need players who are at 100 percent.”
Los Rojiblancos shouldn’t be too concerned about Forlán’s unavailability, as they were able to come out victorious without the Uruguayan in the first leg.
“The 20 that we travelled with are the ones who have to resolve this qualifier tomorrow and if Forlán isn’t here, we can’t rely on him,” Manzano told Atlético’s official site.
“There’s no need to keep talking about it.”
Adrián, Eduardo Salvio and José Antonio Reyes formed our attack trident in the match in Madrid, but it was Elias, who replaced Salvio in the second half, who stole the show by nabbing a brace.
If Manzano’s men manage to put one past Vitória, the Portuguese outfit will be forced to strike back with four goals, so los Colchoneros have to like their chances of making it through to the group stage of the tournament.
In a bid to rally their fans and players for a comeback, Vitória released a battle video which harks back to the times of their stadium’s namesake, Afonso Henriques, the first King of Portugal who led his people to independence from the Kingdom of León in 1139.
In addition to the absence of Forlán, Atleti will be without vice-captain Alvaro Dominguez, who will serve a one-match suspension after receiving a second booking in UEFA action last Thursday.
Atleti fans will have to wait to see star signings Radamel Falcao and Arda Turan in action.
The Colombian could not be registered in time for this fixture while the Turk continues his recovery from a muscle injury.
Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Joel, Courtois
Defenders: Godín, A. López, Filipe, Sìlvio, Perea, Miranda, Pulido
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Tiago, Elías, Reyes, Assunçao, Gabi, Salvio, Koke, Juanfran
Forwards: Adrián, Borja