Atlético Madrid dispelled all doubts concerning their lack of goals in pre-season so far on Sunday, winning by a resounding 5-1 scoreline at German side Wolfsburg. Raúl García got the ball rolling with a brace, before Mario Mandžukić opened his Rojiblanco account from the penalty spot, and further strikes from canteranos Koke and Hector Hernández
Atlético head out to Huelva Friday to face off against Recreativo for the Trofeo Colombino. The friendly, Atleti’s final test of the pre-season before the next round of Europa League and la Liga get underway, is scheduled to kick-off at 22:00 CET.
Last week we gave you a glimpse into Atlético’s pre-season plans, but on Saturday, the club offered us a concrete list of friendlies to be played throughout the month July. The squad is currently residing at Los Ángeles de San Rafael where they’ll remain until the 17th, with three friendly fixtures scheduled to be played in the coming week.
Today Atlético started their second day of pre-season training with another double shift. A host of players are absent due to various reasons but a large group has already started preparing for the new season. One player is unaccounted for, though. There was still no sign of Diego Costa.
The competition between forwards Diego Costa and Eduardo Salvio was under the spotlight throughout the summer, as the pair were battling it out for Atleti’s last non-EU roster slot. Initially, reports had tabbed the Brazilian as the man to be released, but he eventually convinced Quique that he was the right man for the team’s third striker role.
The concerns are widespread and palpable among the rojiblanco faithful. Though Quique Sánchez Flores recently brushed off the team’s weak summer showings by dismissing them as mere experiments, he later conceded that he would’ve liked a pre-season with stronger opposition. Here’s a review of how Atlético fared in the build-up to our Super Cup final tie with Inter.
Atlético faces Montevideo Wanderers tonight at 19:00 GMT+1 in the third place match of the Trofeo Colombino in Huelva. The Uruguayan side was defeated 2-0 Tuesday by event hosts Recreativo Huelva. The Rojiblancos suffered their third consecutive pre-season defeat in a 1-0 loss to Sporting Gijón last night. Atleti will be looking for a morale boosting victory in what will be its last preparation game prior to the UEFA Supercup engagement with Inter on 27 August.
Atlético have lost to Sporting Gijón in the semi final of the Trofeo Colombino. Ten minutes before the end it was substitute Gastón Sangoy who scored the only goal in a dull encounter. Atleti still has a lot to improve before our Super Cup match against Inter next week.
Fran Mérida, our first big signing of the the summer, appears to be living up to the hype. The talented young playmaker is reportedly set to start the 2010-11 season on the left wing, getting the nod ahead of Portuguese veteran Simão. The young midfielder signed for Atlético on a free transfer from Arsenal in late May.
On Saturday Atlético and Real Mallorca face off in the 35th edition of the Trofeo Ciudad de Palma. Diego Godín is ready to make his debut, but he won’t be able to do so alongside Álvaro Domínguez, as the centre back is injured. Our star striker Diego Forlán returned to training this week but will miss the match through injury as well. There were four surprises in Quique’s match selection as several players were left out.