Atletico Madrid

  1. Jose Gimenez: One of the Most Complete Centre-Backs in World Football

    By Edward Stratmann.

    Since making his Uruguayan Primera Division debut for Danubio at just 17, all it took was another 16 matches and Jose Maria Gimenez was quickly snapped up by Atletico Madrid for around €1 million.

    Having signed him just prior to the 2013 U20 World Cup proved a great move by Atleti, for Gimenez would go on to star for Uruguay in the tournament as his team made the final, a game they heartbreakingly lost on penalties to an outstanding French side that included the likes of Paul Pogba, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Kurt Zouma, Jordan Veretout, Yaya Sanogo, Lucas Digne and Samuel Umtiti.

    While this was a massive disappointment for the youngster, moving to Atletico to play alongside his idol and countryman, Diego Godin, certainly wasn't a bad way to bring back some positivity for him.

    Only a matter of months later, in September, Gimenez would go on to make his full international debut. And having suitably impressed La Celeste's manager, Oscar Washington T

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  2. Augusto Fernandez: Physical and Intelligent Midfielder

    By Edward Stratmann.

    An utterly proud Diego Simeone was quick to lavish praise on all of his players following their magnificent 1-0 derby victory over Real Madrid last weekend.

    "The line of four was brilliant. Filipe Luis was amazing. Juanfran closed his wing very well. Augusto and Gabi were two tremendous lungs in the midfield. Big heart from Saul and lots of calmness from Koke. Great character in Griezmann and great enthusiasm and passion from Fernando to run for impossible balls," insisted the overjoyed Argentine manager.

    "That led us to have a chance, solve it in the best way and achieve the win."

     

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    He couldn't have been more spot on in his assessment. His team played brilliantly, as they showed that customary togetherness and fighting spirit

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  3. Atletico Madrid's reliance on Griezmann goals will leave them facing season of disappointment

    By Karl Matchett.

     

    Having led La Liga at the turn of the year and still been in the running to compete for a treble, Atletico Madrid will be disappointed at how the last month has panned out, losing their spot atop the table to Barcelona and exiting the Copa del Rey at the hands of Celta Vigo.

     

    Their latest couple of fixtures have highlighted both the strengths and the weaknesses of this Atleti side: 0-0 in La Liga against Villarreal, and 0-0 against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League.

     

    A near-impenetrable back line, marshalled by Diego Godin and with a last line of protection-Jan Oblak-as good as any side other than Bayern Munich have to offer, Atletico simply don't concede many chances, and have a top-class 'keeper to stop those which do sneak through. At the other end of the pitch though, the story is far from

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  4. The Rise of Chinese Football

    Are we witnessing the birth of a new football superpower? Just a few years ago, Chinese league football play was little more than a footnote. With the Premier League, the La Liga, the Bundesliga, the Serie A, and the Ligue 1-not to mention other increasingly competitive divisions like the Dutch Eredivisie-what was there to draw players to China? And without the star players, what did China have to draw international audiences?

    In the past few weeks, though, it's become clear that ignoring the Chinese Super League might not be an option for much longer. This week alone, there are numerous high-profile headlines pertaining to Chinese football. There's the Daily Star article about how current Paris Saint Germain star (and major Chelsea target) Ezequiel Lavezzi could make a move to China at the end of the season, instead of moving to the Premier League. There's the Telegraph piece about how Chinese President Xi

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  5. Saul Niguez: Atletico Madrid's Superbly Talented Young Midfielder

    9th February 2016. By Edward Stratmann.
    Despite Atletico Madrid losing their enthralling contest against Barcelona 2-1, their dogged manager, Diego Simeone, was still unmistakably proud of his team.

    "I remember the fact I feel proud of the team I had on the pitch, it was incredible," he said after the game.

    "There was a good 10 minute spell from Barcelona, but we controlled the space well, just not the ball."

    It must be said, for the first half especially, the Argentine was spot on his assessment. Lining up his team up in a 4-4-2 formation had obviously been a decision he'd put much thought into prior to kick-off, and judging from the way Barca were made to suffer throughout the first 27 minutes courtesy of Atleti's magnificent, systematic pressing, he unquestionably made the right call.

    "4-4-2 allows you to press higher, 4-3-3 lets you press and recover. This formation allowed us to get closer to [Sergio] Busquets and when we regained the ball we had

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  6. Late transfers and suspensions could derail Atletico Madrid title bid

    By Karl Matchett.

     

    Atletico Madrid headed into the new year full of positivity, top of La Liga and in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey, making a new midfield signing in Augusto Fernandez and finally adding Matias Kranevitter to their squad too after he joined from River Plate in the summer.

     

    Since then though a hectic January and some tough fixtures have seen them slip to second in the league after defeat to Barcelona, and exit the Copa at the hands of Celta Vigo, and los Colchoneros are now four matches without a win. Heading into their weekend game at home to Eibar, Atleti need to get back to winning ways quickly but are facing the prospect of a reduced squad and some late transfer deals, which could easily hamper their bid to fight on two fronts-La Liga and the Champions League.

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  7. Barcelona Beat Atletico Madrid to Maintain La Liga Lead

    Coming into Saturday's head-to-head match between FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, Barca had won five games in a row against the Mattress Makers. Despite the best efforts of the Atletico squad, Barcelona won once more this weekend, earning a 2-1 advantage to solidify their frontrunner status in the 2015/16 La Liga.

    Not that anyone has had reason to doubt Barca's title hopes as of late. Ever since Neymar and Luis Suarez stepped up to steer the football club through Lionel Messi's lengthy and nerve-wracking injury period, FC Barcelona have been nearly untouchable. They haven't lost a game in any competition since the beginning of October and have only had to abide a few draws. The January 30th match against Atletico Madrid was interesting because, if one team was going to be able to knock Barcelona off balance, the Mattress Makers were going to be that team.

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    A Comeback

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  8. Five out-of-favour La Liga players who could be shrewd winter acquisitions

    By Ameen Rabbani.

    As we enter the final week of the January transfer window, clubs around Europe will undoubtedly be looking to La Liga in the hope of finding a winter bargain to bolster their squads for the six months that lie ahead. Here's five out-of-favour players who could do with a change of scenery from Spain's top flight and make a difference elsewhere.

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      1. Denis Cheryshev

    It was somewhat surprising that Denis Cheryshev was given the nod to continue at Real Madrid this season despite enjoying a largely successful loan spell at Villarreal in 2014-15. As suspected with Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and

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  9. 3 areas Atletico Madrid must target before transfer ban kicks in

    By Karl Matchett.

     

    Atletico Madrid have already completed two signings this month, bringing in midfielders Matias Kranevitter from River Plate and Augusto Fernandez from Celta Vigo to augment a squad which is already top of La Liga and challenging on three fronts this season.

     

    While the former was already a done deal from the summer and simply had to wait to January to be completed, Augusto's capture was a direct response to the injury suffered by veteran Portuguese midfielder Tiago, out with a broken leg until March.

     

    It seemed unlikely that Diego Simeone's side would venture out further into the transfer market this winter, but an impending FIFA-sanctioned transfer ban could force them to make their move now to set up next season's squad as well. As such, despite the overall strength of the squad and quality

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  10. Copa del Rey 2016 Quarterfinal Preview.

    We're only just reaching the quarterfinals for the 2015/16 Copa del Rey, but the tournament has already brought its fair share of surprises. From the controversial disqualification of Real Madrid in the middle of the round of 32 (for fielding an ineligible player) to the surprisingly great showing from some of Barcelona's up-and-coming young talents, this year's Copa del Rey has offered entertainment and discussion in equal measure. Now, with the slate for the quarterfinal officially announced, we're checking back in with the tournament to assess the likely outcomes of the next run and whether or not FC Barcelona are a shoe-in to win the CDR title once more in 2016.

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    The Quarterfinal Draw

    As is customary for the Copa del Rey, most of

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