Diego, an authentic wizard

Atleti look set to reap the benefits of their bold summer signing

Diego at his presentation(clubatleticodemadrid.com)

Diego at his presentation
(clubatleticodemadrid.com)

I’ll be the first to admit that when rumours about Diego joining Atlético first surfaced during this past pre-season, I felt he would offer the club more risk than reward.

We were coming off a 2010/11 campaign somewhat marred by a personal conflict between a coach and a player, so my initial reaction, considering the Brazilian’s dust-up with his manager at Wolfsburg, was that it wouldn’t be wise to sign him.

Obviously, I’m an idiot…or, I hadn’t gone through the abundant video evidence available on the web documenting his enormous talent.

When I did, with a grain of salt mind you as a highlight reel on YouTube can even make Juan Valera look like a footballer, my reservations about Diego began to dissipate.

And then, on Saturday, in his debut against Valencia, Diego did this to my first impression of him.

As long as the former Juventus man keeps the peace with Gregorio Manzano and continues to develop chemistry with the rest of the squad, there’s real reason to believe that los Rojiblancos have finally found their conductor.

In his half hour on the pitch, the 26-year-old showcased a sample of his bag of tricks, participating in 28 plays and completing 28 passes, according to AS.

Perhaps his biggest mistake of the night was having dished out five of those passes to team-mate Juanfran who, to put it mildly, turned in an atrocious performance.

Atleti fans will surely be eager for Thursday’s Europa League group stage clash against Celtic to kick off, in which Diego, unless Manzano suddenly goes mad, should make his Vicente Calderón debut in the starting line-up.

Also set to appear in the fold against the Hoops is playmaker Arda Turan, who was also very impressive after replacing Adrián at the hour mark.

If we can’t do any damage against the Scottish side with Turan, Diego, Reyes and Falcao all featuring from the start of proceedings, I’m afraid we’ll be fresh out of excuses.

That is, unless Miranda plays in place of Luis Amaranto Perea again.

Los Colchoneros need to roll with the punches and keep working to put all their new pieces together.

Fortunately, our boys are keeping their heads up despite being blanked for the second consecutive time in the 1-0 loss to Valencia.

“We’ve had our chances and have been playing good,” Adrián told AS.

“Falcao did well but we will continue to work. The team is satisfied. We’re not worried because we’re doing things right and once we score the first one everything will be going up from there.”

Left-back Filipe Luis had some words of encouragement for supporters.

“There’s an environment of excitement in the dressing room,” he said.

“We have the feeling that we’re going to be up top. The goal will come.”

Following the defeat, defender Alvaro Dominguez, who served as captain in the encounter, wrote via his Twitter account:

“We’re sad about the loss…but the team has given their all! We have 3 very important home games! This team is going to have a great season.”

The next three matches at home (Celtic, Racing Santander, Sporting Gijón) can do wonders to help the team build up confidence going forward, starting with a trip to the Camp Nou to take on Barcelona on the 24th of September.


  • Alfred

    same here, when I heard Diego join our team… I was full of worries 🙁 but after Saturday match… I think we found our central commander finally !!!! We’ve been searching AMF for long long year, I hope Diego is the right man 🙂 go Atletic !!!!!!

  • Davide

    I just love Diego’s energy level on the field. He is always trying to be active, technical and creative and often trying to move forward with the ball instead passing it sideways and boring us to death like some of the others. If he can start connecting with Falcaos movement then we are going to be extremely dangerous this season. Mind you Falcao should have had 2 goals to his name against Valencia if he got the final passes. I admire Falcaos movement on the pitch, he is always trying bodydodge and loose his marker and become a open target for teamates. Teammates have to start looing up before final shot or pass, cause i noticed that Falcao often shakes himself free and available in front of goal. Arda is also going to be an important trixter, very technical and usefull. He will be handfull for alot of defenses. We got first game done and dusted where all the newcomers got their playing badges. Nad it certainly looked good with all the best players on the field the last 35 min. Our season starts now!

  • Davide

    I just read about Felix Magath´s system for punishing players. I understand Diego actually i this case. This is some of the stuff:

    *100 € fine for every minute you are late to training

    *250 € fine for having headphones on the bus or plane, both home and away matches.

    *250 € fine for using mobile phones at any given time in presence of the club

    *250 € fine at any given time for chewing gum in the presence of the clubs training, matches or trips.

    *500 € fine for sleeping on the bus at away journeys

    *500 € fine for any defender that lets the ball bounce before clearing it

    *1000 € fine for unnecessary back heel pass anywhere in the pitch

    *5000 € fine for questioning the team and managers tactics at any given time during season

    *10 000 € fine if you fail to follow his tactics at any given time on the field or training.

    I know Adolf is dead, but this is pretty close… It would drive me crazy. Diego just got out of Shawshank.

  • Edletico

    How did you find that Davide?

  • Lubo

    Wow, I can’t believe this. I always knew that Magath is despotic, but this is too much. It’s like in a Nazi training camp. What a false feeling of self-importance this coach has.
    Now I understand Diego a bit more, and Wolfsburg’s bad performances also.

  • Davide

    Edletico//

    A friend in Germany is Wolfsburg supporter and he just emailed the list to me.

    Ulf Baranowsky, the chief representative of the VDV Players Union in Germany, is hot on Magath’s heels, calling him a dictator.

    Players are said not to be happy about the situation.

    He recently fined Patrick Helmes and Mario Mandzukic 10,000 € each for not carrying out his tactical instruction to the letter against Borussia Moenchengladbach.

  • Davide

    Funny info:

    Magath is known as “Quaelix” in Germany, in a play on his name “Felix” and the verb quaelen, which means to torture.

  • Sebyk

    great posts Davide, I see you have well informed football friends everywhere 🙂 Magath is a true sadist…

  • 7th

    he inhertied adolf’gene then, that magath.

    whats wrong with him?

    they should protest against him.

    now that is relieve, diego action is understandable.

  • k14

    I don’t think these are even possible, as most likely they weren’t on the contract, I don’t think its possible for anyone to fine 10k every game based on opinion, sounds untrue as clearly this would be against the law.

  • palc

    Oh man. It was awesome seeing Diego dance on the field. What a player. Easily our best player if he keeps it up. But beware Diego, Reyes might get angry with you for stealing the spotlight from him.

  • Xisco

    You guys are seriously overreacting. Magath is a great coach, yes he is strict just like van Gaal, maybe because his father wasn’t around when he grew up. So far nobody has died because of Magath, so compare him to the Nazis, is being heartless. You are also forgetting that he is one of the most succesful coaches in Germany, making Wolfsburg champion of Germany for the first time in 08-09. About Diego’s fines because of Magath, Diego refused to obey Magath’s decision of not taking PKs, and you are also forgetting that because of Diego the Wolfs were almost relegatated. If it wasn’t for Magath the wolfs could be in Bundesliga 2 as of now. So Wolfsburg fans should be grateful Magath made you champions and saved Die Wolfs from Bundesliga 2.

  • Urban

    OK I was one of the first to praise Diego on this site when the rumours of him coming this summer began, but now I must say that we cannot get carried away after just 30 minutes. He showed he has amazing quality, thats for sure, but still lets wait a bit and see what he shows next.

    He has the potential to be our best player. Thats for sure. Almost his every touch feels like magic, and his passing is crisp – but still he needs to prove himself during whole games, and we have to see whether he clicks with Falcao or not. If he does, there might be no stopping us.

  • disgusting remarks from an ex-Celtic player and current club spokesman

    Scum: The mere mention of Atletico’s name makes me sick
    REAL MADRID were the aristocrats of European football – Atletico were the SCUM

    REAL MADRID were the aristocrats of European football.

    Their neighbours Atletico were the SCUM.

    They didn’t even deserve to share that magnificent city.

    Even now, 37 years after their scandalous conduct in the European Cup semi-final at Celtic Park, the mere mention of Atletico fills me with revulsion.

    No matter the fact the current management, coaching staff and playing squad had nothing to do with that diabolical evening on April 10, 1974, I still like to see Atletico being stuffed.

    It would give me enormous pleasure to see Neil Lennon’s Hoops shatter them at the Vicente Calderon next Thursday and later back here, as much as I accept the odds are against it.

    The infamous Battle of Montevideo — our World Club Championship play-off against Racing Club of Argentina in 1967 in neutral Uruguay — was a horrific spectacle.

    Yet I feel the night the shameful Spanish side came to Glasgow surpassed even that game for ugliness.

    Just thinking about it makes my blood boil — especially the appalling assaults on Jimmy Johnstone from first minute to last.

    By full-time wee Jinky was left black and blue all over.

    But in the bravest performance I’ve ever seen from a player he never stopped running at his attackers.

    The harder they booted him, the worse they scythed him down, the more determined he became not to give in to them.

    The courage Jinky showed against the thugs of Atletico was truly astonishing.

    Pre-match Jock Stein had told us to be on our guard against underhand tactics. But not even he had imagined the depths Atletico would sink to. No one had.

    On reflection, maybe we should have, because their manager, the despicable Juan Carlos Lorenzo, had also been coach of Racing seven years previously.

    Celtic’s European pedigree back then was outstanding.

    Between 1966 and 1974 we were virtually expected to reach the latter stages of the European Cup as our domination of Scottish football ensured our regular participation in it.

    Just consider the following record:

    Cup Winners’ Cup semi-finalists, 1966;

    European Cup winners, 1967;

    European Cup quarter-finalists, 1969;

    European Cup runners-up, 1970;

    European Cup quarter-finalists, 1971;

    European Cup semi-finalists, 1972 and 1974.

    So you can understand when I say confidence was high going into that last four tie against Atletico.

    We were well on our way to securing Nine in a Row league titles and were also desperate to reach a third European Cup Final in just seven years.

    Over 70,000 fans packed into Celtic Park — and over the course of the appalling 90 minutes that followed the supporters showed remarkable restraint.

    Atletico boss Lorenzo might not have been on the pitch joining in with the cowardly assaults, but I still regard him as being every bit as guilty as the louts he instructed to do whatever it took to get a result.

    He selected a team specifically for the task of destroying us — assassins who were never going to feature in the return in Spain.

    It took only the opening moments for us to be aware of what we were in for as Jinky suffered the first of countless bad tackles. The tone had been set.

    Atletico had a good number of Argentinian players and I later wondered if the events from our game against Racing had influenced their brutal approach.

    There’s every chance, too, that Atletico feared what we could do to them in a football sense — that they felt they couldn’t match us for skill and the only way to stop Celtic was to kick us off the park.

    But there could be no justification for what they did.

    Jinky endured the worst of Atletico, but at different points in the match we all suffered. They had three players sent off and seven booked.

    They weren’t interested in playing football.

    But still we couldn’t beat them and that, of course, was a huge disappointment.

    Victory would have given us particular satisfaction. But sadly, Atletico succeeded in their aim, to secure a 0-0 draw that would give them every chance back at their place.

    At the end of the game emotions exploded and there was a mass brawl at the mouth of the tunnel. We’d somehow been able to keep our discipline during the game. God only knows how we did that.

    If some of the assaults on Jinky had been carried out on the street then several of the Atletico animals would have been facing PRISON sentences.

    But at full-time it all became too much for us — and Atletico got the full force of our outrage, anger and disgust.

    Punches were thrown and believe me when I say a few of their players eventually escaped up the tunnel with sore faces.

    Even a few of Glasgow’s finest made a point of delivering a message to the Atletico thugs.

    I witnessed a couple of the police officers positioned at the tunnel man-handling some of their players in a particularly aggressive manner.

    UEFA betrayed Celtic and the game by not booting Atletico out of the European Cup in 1974 for how they had acted.

    We should have been put through to the final. Instead, they issued a pitiful £14,000 fine to Atletico and banned six players from the second leg.

    The desperate irony is they outplayed us in Spain. Their personnel and philosophy was totally different in the second leg.

    They looked a very good side and could well have beaten us fair and square at Celtic Park without the vicious approach.

    Our focus in Madrid had been destroyed in the build-up.

    Death threats to Jinky, and even big Jock, plus the memories of the first leg, proved too much for us.

    Those mental scars will never fade.

    Definition of scum-Talking

  • Flo

    Comparing Magath to a Nazi. You gotta be kidding me!

  • Leandros

    Take a look at one of Diego’s best goals ever:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkLv_TdHBbU

    or maybe better resolution:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCLih5Fxov4

    Germany’s Goal of the Year 2007 😉

  • Xisco

    For the one that said Magath is like Adolf. Not only is a joke compare Hitler with Magath but copying and paste Magath’s life from wikipedia is lame also, you also forgot to mention Magath was abandoned by his father. That is something you’ll never understand even if you were born twice.

    PS. To the one that wrote Magath is close to Hitler.
    who do you think you are to judge Magath?, you think you are a nice person, looks like you are not, judging Magath is very low even for you. I suggest you to think before you speak such vile comments.

  • Lubo

    Come on, Xisco. My apology for that Nazi comment, I never thought it the way you got that. I just meant that this strict methods should be applied in the army and not in football. (And because he’s German=Nazi army). But I never said he’s like Adolf, so please stop putting words to my mouth. One thing I don’t understand about you is why are you looking for troubles? It’s not first time you are trying to make problem out of nothing on these pages.
    But once again, I apologize for this misunderstood. I never wanted to accuse anyone, nor to offend.
    And just one more thing. I did not judge Magath. I would never do that. The only thing I was judging is his attitude to players and the unnatural respect he wants. By the way, who are you to judge me just by this one comment?

  • Xisco

    @Lubo that comment wasn’t for you so I apologize if you got caught in the act. Again i wasn’t referring to you but the one that said Magath is Hitler’s football.

    People read my comment carefully. If you didn’t compare Magath to Hitler then my comment wasn’t meant for you.

  • Lubo

    @Xisco, then I have to apologize to you again. I did not read other comments, just as I wisited this page I saw a part of your comment in the “recent comment” column and maybe I also overreacted (after reading it whole carefully), because I mentioned some Nazi-training-camp-words too.

  • DavidSF

    Come on guys- It’s obvious Lubo was not serious… It’s a joke but yeah no point in comparing anyone to Hitler though!–

    Juanfran was atrocious – he must’ve swung in 4 crosses that went to nobody- I guess you’ve got to give him credit for getting space to whip in those crosses; end product wasn’t there.

    With Diego, Arda and Reyes looking to be the new creators, we need 2 of the 5 to step up and shield the back 4 and link play with the attackers. Koke looks to be suitable for this role along with one Gabi, Tiago and Suarez.

    Manzano needs to play with 4-2-3-1 with the 3 attacking midfielders interchaging all over much like barca/real.

    Torres might not be bad to bring in January if we can get him for 15 million 🙂 I’m sure he can find his form at the Calderon.

  • Fernando

    Buuhuuu…. Some people in here takes life way to seriously and needs to take a chill pill or get a girlfriend. or better yet, write a sobing email to amnesty and complain or whine about comments on this thread. Any nitwit with half a brain can see that every Adolf comment was meant as reference to the strict codes and rules he imposed on his the German army in form of hard discipline. Referring to anything else than that regarding him would not even make sense in this topic. I wonder were you people were when openly fascist presidents like Jesús Gil and Vicente Calderón openly spoke well about Hitlers ideals? Probably hiding behind that wall of double standard. Now suddenly people are playing devils advocate for Magath and pretending to be on line human activists over some military boot camp comparisons. Cry me a river…

  • javi

    @ David SF: There is no way Chelsea is going to let Torres go for 15m, they just spent 58 on him…but it would be nice and yes I agree, he would do much better here without the pressure of the Premier.

    @ Neil Lemon, I actually watched those games in 74 and Celtic was just as hard as Atleti, plus we were fighting the ref too. The way he described the story both Celtic and their fans were innocent victims. if that is the case why did their fans have so many problems throught Europe whenever celtic or Rangers played?
    I dont know what he thinks he is accomplishing with these remarks, first they are not accurate and second the teams and fans of 2011 have nothing to do with those of 1974.

  • Xisco

    Fernando, you replied to me, so obviously looks like you don’t have better things to do than insult random people over the internet.

    why don’t you actually start to do something beneficial with your lame life, rather than critize me and being a complete busybody jackass.

    PS. Put a sock in it.

  • Derek Maaijen

    Guys, please try to treat each other with as much respect as you would any other Rojiblanco you meet on the street. On the internet comments or jokes are often misinterpreted, but let’s try to keep it all civil.

  • DJ_ZA

    I read that Magath article in goal.com last week. A bit OTT if it’s true but media also tend to over-sensationalise / blow things out of proportion. As for the reactions to this ..I’m so with you Fernando. Someone always overreacts to a comment…. but fortunately they always kiss and make up.
    @Urban, I too (ever the sceptic) think everyone’s gone a bit gaga too soon… and that after losing the match! Turn the magic into goals and points on the log and I too will sing your praises Diego.

  • Fernando

    Xisco@ Nobody insults people more than you do. You are regular troublemaker on this website with your wannabe besserwisserism. You never let people have their own opinions. You don’t know how to discuss a topic without always striving to be the one that’s right about everything. I know at least 40% of the people that writes on this page cause we are also active in another Atlético forum and on Facebok Atlético groups. They think you are a annoying little wannabe know it thrives on writing rubbish.

  • Xisco

    Fernando, what are you talking about?, you’re the one that got on my nerves by insulting me. I didn’t even messed with you until you insult me, seems you forgot you’re the one that attack me verbally. what did you expect me to do, write you a love letter?. By the way it’s you who doesn’t let others like me have their own opinion. Like when you called me a hater and the other things you said. I had no problem with you. Besides, It’s not like I attack you in every comment you make, you do. What the devil are you saying?you’re the hater not me. You let other people be and comment. If you don’t like it then don’t reply. Hater.

  • k14

    @ Xisco, I have seen u insult people more than once, and making some ignorant assumptions about their life and characteristics such as calling someone a virgin and whatnot (Half of the world consider it a virtue, not an insult,the half u arent from).

    So either take some more time to carefully understand what people say and mean, or expect to be treated in the same manner u do to others.

  • davidsf

    Javi: You’re right, Probably not 15 mil but maybe 20-25 as his stock has plummetted. I mean Daniel Sturridge gets the nod over him and he’s Just in the England Yout setup. He’s not even in la seleccion anymore. And if he doesn’t score more than 8 goals by Jan… I can see him being sold by a lot more than half of what they paid.

    Take a look at Diego Juve paid 20 sumn million only to sellpredictable him back toin Wolfsburg for almost half… den Atletiim couldve got purchased outright for 8 million in a span of a little over a year… so yes I think it can and hope it will happen 🙂 I seriously think we need someone in case Falcao is injured cuz Adrian is too young and Costa isn’t good enough. We should’ve kept Forlan!!!

  • starvs

    Xisco, I say this as your biggest fan probably, you def start more shit than anyone.

    Getting The Nino back from Chelsea at a cut rate price would be truly awesome; especially after Kun. But as Javi said, unlikely.

    Diego certainly looked good enough to give hope. The attack we had going for the last 30 would have scored a goal in full 90 minutes.

  • Xisco

    k14 hat’s because I was provoked. What part don’t you understand? you only listen to what you want to. I insulted people yeah I did. But they got on my nerves. What part of that don’t you get?. You can go over my comments and see that clearly I was provoked. And calling me and ignorant doesn’t really make you look like a well mannered person.

    starvs, what the devil do you want?, dude seriously. I ain’t messing with you. Why do you throw rocks at me?. And ultimately, what do you care?.

  • k14

    again Xisco, u focused on 1 word and missed the whole point.

  • Sweden

    I think Torres would be a lot of fun to have in our squad, especially for all our fans. But how long can Torres keep on playing? He seems to be both slower and less motivated nowadays.

  • Davide

    Xisco//

    Of course, that’s exactly how it is. You are this innocent little lamb that usually speaks softly and is always first provoked into insulting people. And you never answer like you know better than everyone else. Everyone else are bad people with bad manners and wrong information. Good for you mate!

  • Xisco

    k14, what do you want?, it seems you too focus in one word. I admit I was I was wrong now what the devil do you want?, and what does it matter to you in the first place?.

    Davide//
    Why are making a lot of drama out of this?, I don’t get it?, why do you gotta be so sarcastic?, I never said I knew better than anyone else, you’re just puting words in my mouth, you’re just a teaser like Fernando.

  • Davide

    Xisco//

    Nice to see you try to mellow down with your answers to give effect and help your “i am victim” cause or whatever, and also have a softer tone of debating. For whatever reason it is, criticism must have gotten to you and i am glad about it. Continue down this path and we can be one big happy red and white family instead of you getting on peoples nerves.

  • javi

    Ok guys, with all due respect to everyone, lets put an end to this. Speaking for myself, I come here to learn, share and discuss about a true passion that we all share, Atleti. I dont come here to read about you guys having issues with each other. There are plenty of places that we can direct our passion against, like for example Celtic’s recent comments against Atleti, and/or the two perpetual villians of la liga.
    So come on lets make the site interesting for every one again.

  • fancyfartpants

    guys, make love not war, focus on things that matter, in the end… we will burn for our sins… but burn with honor