Atlético de Madrid

The love that hurts.

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    26 year old in New York; Passionate fan of the beautiful game; lover of Argentina (los Albicelestes); long-suffering, devoted supporter of Atlético Madrid (los Rojiblancos) for the past 13 years.
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Archive for November, 2007

UEFA: Atlético de Madrid 2 Aberdeen FC 0

Posted by atleti on November 30, 2007

Forlán celebrates after scoring from the spot.

STARTING 11: Abbiati, Antonio López, Eller, Pablo, Pernía, Motta, Cleber, Maxi (Maniche 71), Luis García, Agüero (Simão 46), Forlán (Mista 70).

Subs Not Used: Falcón, Raúl García, Zé Castro, Reyes.

GOALS
45+1′ Forlán (pen)
61′ Simão

CLICK HERE TO SEE A SHORT VIDEO OF THE TWO GOALS.

Atlético comfortably won Aberdeen FC in Vicente Calderón stadium this evening, climbing up the group table:

Group B
Panathinaikos 6
Atlético 4
København 3
Lokomotiv Moskva 2
Aberdeen 1

NB: By winning our final two group games (away to Copenhagen & home to Panathinaikos), we will secure top spot. 

Aguirre after the game:
“It was important to pick up the three points, and to not concede any goals. They were our objectives, and we achieved them…The team knew how to control the match…We knew how to play the match when ahead.”

I was only able to watch the first half on livefooty before I had to go to work. Once there, I followed the live text (no Internet radio, unfortunately).

For those of you who don’t know Spanish, I’ve translated & paraphrased a few excerpts from the blogs of two Atleti supporters who went to the game:

Fernando at SENTIMIENTO ATLETICO wrote this at the end of his entry:
“It should be noted that Motta played a [major role in this game]; Cleber & Eller performed terribly as usual; Antonio performed well as right-back; & Simao [played excellently & with lots of desire in the second half.”

Sergio at LA GRADA has written that the game almost felt like a ‘training session’ against a ‘very poor’ Aberdeen side. Sergio also pointed out the immense ‘presence of Motta’ in midfield & noted that without Raul or Maniche, our attacking game tends to be rather predictable. “There was so little ‘flow’ in this game [on our part] that the two goals came from set-pieces.”

El Mundo’s Fernando Llamas had this to say at FT:
“The difference between the two teams is infinite […] Atleti failed to overwhelm its opponent, who only knew how to do a couple moves, one of them being kicking long balls to striker Lee Miller.

If you missed the comments in the previous entry, check them out: day1star provided his (always-welcomed) summarisation of the game. In fact, thanks to all visitors of the blog– it’s great to have regulars pop in to offer their insight & thoughts on results and other happenings.

Back to the game: I’m thrilled that we won again. The fact that we kept a clean sheet (despite the defensive blunders of Eller) is great as well. I’d also like to go on record and say that of all of our current players, Simao is the one who should take the free-kicks, if he is on the pitch. It annoys me when I hear that Reyes steps up to take one (thankfully he didn’t play this evening)– as far as I’m concerned, Simao is our free-kick specialist.

It’s also worth pointing out that Maniche only played 20 minutes & Raul remained benched– two key players for our league games. They will be more than ready to return to the starting 11 this Sunday against Real Betis.

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Diego Forlan, Fabiano Eller, Jose Antonio Reyes, Maniche, Raul Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa, Thiago Motta, UEFA | 5 Comments »

UEFA: Atlético de Madrid v Aberdeen FC

Posted by atleti on November 28, 2007

Jornada 3 of the Group Stage is tomorrow!

Some excerpts from Aguirre’s recent press talk:
“We’re going to come out to win & go for the three points against Aberdeen. We can’t let points get away from us against Aberdeen, especially at home. We hope to play a good game, but the most important thing is the result.”

“We have to look for a balance, we’re designed to attack & that’s unquestionable. The number of goals that the team is giving up isn’t normal, but we’ve also been attacking a lot. We have to learn to manage the rhythm of the match & regulate the number of goals.”

“Jurado, Perea & Seitaridis, who are still injured, will miss it, Valera can’t play in the UEFA Cup and Miguel still isn’t quite ready.”

“I have 19 players available & I’ll choose eleven of them to start on Thursday. It’s true that I have a problem at right-back. Everyone trained as equals today and I’ll decide on the team on match-day. Whoever plays will do so well.”

I think it’s safe to say that Luis Garcia, Motta, Antonio Lopez and (maybe) Mista will be in the starting 11. I’ll post the official starting 11 tomorrow, in this entry, to confirm.

In terms of Aberdeen, Aguirre says they are a ‘very direct’ team that are ‘dangerous on set pieces’. Their main striker is Lee Miller. In truth, I expect ‘the Dons’ to play a defensive game & count-attack when the opportunity avails itself.

Here are their recent 5 results:
Celtic 3-0 Aberdeen
Hearts 4-1 Aberdeen
Aberdeen 1-1 Locomotiv Moscow (UEFA)
Aberdeen 2-0 Dundee Utd
Aberdeen 4-1 Inverness

I get the sense that they tend to struggle when they play away games.

In any case, Aguirre also made it clear that he hopes we do not concede sloppy goals and try to keep a clean-sheet.

It’s interesting to note that President Cerezo has taken a slightly different viewpoint:
“It’s great to come here and to always see goals and more goals […] If our rivals score 10 against us, there is no problem as long as we score 11.”

Cruyffian philosophy, hm?!

As for me, I’m confident of a win. Here’s hoping for another high-scoring game.

BRING ON THE DONS! VAMOS ATLETI!

Time to watch a bit of Champions League action now!

Posted in Atletico Madrid, UEFA | 10 Comments »

rambling (on our defence circus)

Posted by atleti on November 27, 2007

In my Atleti v Valladolid entry, I said that perhaps we should consider sacking Aguirre. I felt at the time that the result could have gone either way. We could’ve lost it (like we did against Sevilla) OR it could’ve ended as a draw (which probably would have been a fair result, but that’s football for you; unpredictable).

Was I being too harsh on Aguirre in suggesting he should be sacked? Is it fair to blame him for our defensive blunders? Did he have a say in the mediocre defenders we’ve brought in (rubbish Eller, for instance)? 

Ultimately, he has to make do with the defenders we got. I certainly hope we keep the winning momentum going until the winter break. At that point, I hope that changes in the back-line are made in January (at least two– a centreback & fullback), although Cerezo has said that we will be inactive in the transfer window.

Day1star (comment contributor to the blog) made an interesting point: he said that we simply lack a ‘leader’ in defence. In other words,  a strong, commanding presence in the back-line.

I couldn’t agree more– one strong centre-back can make a dramatic difference. It would certainly give me peace of mind!

I’m THRILLED that we are playing attacking football this season (as long as we score one more goal than our opponent, I’ll be happy), but it would be nice to have some security in the back-line, you know?

(If you have an opinion on Aguirre’s tactics & predicament, I’d love to read it.)

(Reminder: Aberdeen this Thursday!)

Posted in Atletico Madrid | 6 Comments »

Good Articles

Posted by atleti on November 26, 2007

Here are some great articles I’ve read recently: 

Tim Stannard is an Englishman living in Madrid. He runs ‘La Liga Loca’ (in my blogroll)– to my knowledge, the only English-language blog that covers the ins and outs of the Spanish game with a humourous twist. He wrote an amusing piece on the club today that’s definitely worth a read. Click here for it.

Atlético & Aberdeen meet this Thursday. Graham Hunter from the Sunday Herald wrote a very interesting article on ‘the Dons’ & a game they played in Madrid back in 1983. Click here for it.

Enjoy!

Posted in Atletico Madrid | 4 Comments »

Jornada 13: Atlético de Madrid 4 Real Valladolid 3 (THE GOALS)

Posted by atleti on November 26, 2007

For those of us who didn’t see it on TV or at the stadium:

Click here for a video.

Posted in Atletico Madrid | Leave a Comment »

Jornada 13: Atlético de Madrid 4 Real Valladolid 3 (Déjà Vu)

Posted by atleti on November 25, 2007

Lady Luck gifts Atleti a lifeline.

Yes, it was another tale of two Atléticos: suicidal defending & potent attacking. We were very fortunate to have the result go our way in the dying minutes.  As AS puts it, we continue to play ‘Russian Roulette’.  How zany did we play, you ask? At one point, Pablo pushed forward while Kun dropped back to defend. Truly a comedy of errors.

TWO MAIN TALKING POINTS (the same concerns)
*Defence continues to embarass us. We MUST bring at least TWO solid defenders in January as it is clear our current defenders simply lack quality & experience. They aren’t improving at all. AT ALL! We will not succeed in UEFA if we are loose in the back.  

*Is it time for Aguirre to leave? In my opinion, yes. He has no idea when it comes to tactics & overall organisation and has lost control of the situation. You can’t convince me otherwise.

Of course, I am HAPPY that we collected the three points, but we continue to display atrocious form in the back-line. I only hope that we secure more victories before the winter break.

Unfortunately, the game wasn’t available for viewing in the US, so I had to listen to Internet radio & live-text on El Mundo.

For those of you who don’t live in Spain, here are the main highlights:

2′ GOAL MANICHE (1-0), thanks to an excellent combination with Agüero.

17′ Disastrous defending; Leo Franco made an important save.

17′ Horrific tackle by Valera– yellow card for him.

25′ Awful free kick taken by Reyes. He’s always whining about his lack of playing time, but he disappoints when he is on the pitch.

30′ Butelle (Valladolid GK) halts an attack by Raúl & Agüero.

40′ GOAL VICTOR VALLADOLID (1-1); Maxi lost possession, Valladolid counter-attack & take advantage of our poor defending.

45′ HALF_TIME

47′ GOAL Sisi VALLADOLID (1-2); Sisi is gifted the ball by rubbish Ze Castro

49′ GOAL MAXI (2-2): good work of Maxi, poor defending by Valladolid

52′ Valladolid nearly scored another goal because of a superb play by Victor.

54′ GOAL Llorente VALLADOLID (2-3); Leo Franco was poorly positioned to make a save.

56′ GOAL MAXI (3-3): miscommunication between Valladolid defenders allowed Maxi to find an equaliser.

57′ Valladolid nearly score on the counter-attack; Leo Franco made a save which led to a corner.

58′ Forlán in. Zé Castro out. Striker in for a defender, hm? Suicidal tactics by Aguirre.

65′ Butelle (Valladolid GK) saves a tremendous, individual effort at goal by Kun.

70′ Jurado in. Reyes out. Winger for Winger.

72′ Valera sent off. A fitting end to a disastrous day for Valera. Truly showed that he’s not ready to be included in the starting 11. After his sending off, we were basically playing with 2 or 3 in the back.

76′ Butelle once again comes to Valladolid’s rescue by saving Maniche’s effort.

83′ Pablo decided to leave his role as defender and act as striker. El Mundo’s live-text humourously wrote, “He has such a bad time in defence that he wants to be a forward.”

85′ Simao out. Eller in. An attempt to reorganise the defence….

90′ Kun has a shot at goal blocked.

90+1′ OWN GOAL BY PEDRO LOPEZ (4-3) Pedro Lopez ran into the box in hopes of clearing out the ball, but ended up scoring a perfect header into his own goal mouth.

90+4′ The mayhem ends.

Atleti me matas y me devuelves a la vida.

NEXT UP? UEFA GROUP GAME AGAINST ABERDEEN (29th).

Posted in Atletico Madrid | 12 Comments »

Jornada 13: Atlético de Madrid v Real Valladolid

Posted by atleti on November 24, 2007

Finally! Club action is back on schedule!

{UPDATE} STARTING 11: Leo Franco, Valera, Pablo, Zé Castro, Pernía, Raúl García, Maniche, Reyes, Simao, Maxi; Kun Agüero.

SUBS: Falcón; Antonio López; Cléber; Forlán; Luis García; Eller; Jurado; Perea

A Few Notes
*As expected, Forlán will be on the bench & won’t play unless absolutely necessary. I think this is a good idea, in terms of preventing another injury setback.

*Valera’s first game in the starting 11- best of luck to him.

*Perea, Jurado, & Raul all appeared fit for the game.

*Where Motta you ask? Aguirre says he wants him fresh for our UEFA game against Aberdeen– he plans on using him in the starting 11

Here are a couple excerpts from Forlán‘s recent press talk:

“Sunday’s match is going to be difficult and since we’re playing at home we need to win the three points. In the end, it’s always important to be up there to have possibilities during the final sprint and to have something to play for.”

“The team is fine physically. The three points against Valladolid are very important, which means that we have to leave the last game against Almeria behind us. All of the matches are difficult, which is the good thing about the Spanish League, where you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

I agree 100%: this is a game we MUST win. Notice how I say that a lot? Well, if we expect to secure a Champions League spot this season, THESE are the games we need to win.

MOVING ON…both Maxi and Kun arrived from South America injury-free…always a good thing! Raúl García will be back into action, too: if you recall, he served a suspension in Round 12 and has used much of his time to recover from a fractured nose injury.

Personally, I’d like to see Luis Garcia in the starting 11– he did not serve international duty and has been injury-free.

My only concern is the defence– but I think we will keep it tight in the back. Perea & Seitaridis are out injured, so we might see Valera & Ze Castro in their place.

I’ve seen Valladolid play in previous rounds– they’re a good footballing side, but have had a topsy-turvy start to the season. Before the international break, they were on a good run & I don’t doubt that they will give us a ‘run for our money’. At the end of the day, however, we are strong at home & have a more potent attack.

Bottom-line: Let’s beat Valladolid!

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Diego Forlan, Juan Valera, Luis Garcia, Maxi Rodriguez, Raul Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa, Ze Castro | 17 Comments »

One More Hodgepodge

Posted by atleti on November 21, 2007

Thankfully, Liga returns this weekend!! :)

International Break…almost over!
Pablo & Pernia played 90 minutes for Spain (against Northern Ireland), sealing top spot in their EURO group.

Maniche played 90 minutes for Portugal while Simao remained benched– Portugal qualify for EURO, too.

On Tuesday, Maxi played about 15 minutes for Argentina while Kun didnt play at all. Unfortunately, Argentina’s winning streak came to end as they lost to Colombia. I won’t elaborate on the loss, except, well, these things happen. Upwards & onwards, Albicelestes!

 In terms of Atleti, Kun and Maxi won’t be physically exhausted since they didn’t play much. I suspect they will be given some time to rest when they return to Spain (due to the time difference).

———-

Injury News
AS suggests that Forlán & Jurado are nearing the end of their injury spells. They may or may not be fit for Sunday’s game, though.

Seitaridis out….Valera in…
With Seitaridis recuperating from surgery (not to mention Perea also nursing an injury), it looks like Valera will be included in this Sunday’s starting 11 against Valladolid.

“I’ve really been looking forward to this moment, even though it’s due to a teammate’s injury. We hope that everything goes well, that we win and that we continue with our good streak”

“I feel really good. My knee is responding perfectly to all the work. I’m lacking rhythm, but I hope to get there little-by-little.”

It’s good to read that last bit– that he’s realistic in that he lacks ‘rhythm’ with the team. Let’s hope for a smooth return to football for Valera.

———-

RUMOUR-MILL AGAIN (& NEWS)
Just a few things that caught my eye these past few days.

The club are keen on renewing Maxi‘s contract (& clause) with his agency IMG since clubs (namely Inter) might be interested in his services. It’s said that he has been a mentor & good friend to Kun since the little Argentine’s arrival to Spain last season. The club are also keen on increasing Kun’s clause as well. I think this is more fact than rumour. 

I hope everyone has enjoyed in some way, shape, or form, their international holiday break!

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Giorgios Seitaridis, Juan Valera, Jurado, Luis Perea, Maxi Rodriguez, Pablo Ibanez, Sergio Aguero | 9 Comments »

International Break Lull

Posted by atleti on November 18, 2007

It happens when you have a blog focused on a club! This international break coincides with Thanksgiving break (‘turkey day’) in the USA. Many folks, including myself, have 4 days off next week. Nice, hm?!

Anyway, I’m a supporter of Los Albicelestes, so I’ve been occupying my time watching and reading about their progress in the World Cup Qualifiers. I’m pleased that they won Bolivia at home today. The good news is that our star striker, KUN, was included in the starting 11 AND scored the opening goal. Kun played 75 minutes with Maxi coming in as his sub.

Other International News
Simão
played 77 minutes for Portugal while Maniche played a full 90.

Injury List Grows (in addition to Forlán and Seitaridis)
Perea
injured his ankle while training with Colombia NT. Jurado injured his knee while playing for U-21 Spain NT. To top it off, Abbiati left Friday’s training session with a minor injury.

Good News
Raul
 should be available for our next game, home to Valladolid (25-Nov).

———-

ANOTHER TRANSFER RUMOUR
We’re linked with Mikel Arteta (again) after the Everton playmaker said: “Someday, I’ll finish up with Atletico […] It’s a club that I always liked, and I’d love to play there.”

The 25 year old is one of my favourite players in England: very creative & a midfield specialist in his own right. He won’t join us in January, but there is a slight possibility we might lure him back to Spain at the end of the season, providing we qualify for Champions.

Is it 100% possible? I’m not sure. He’s one of Everton’s top players. They won’t let him go easily.

{UPDATE: 18-Nov} I read just now that we are linked with Ever Banega. Talented Argentine player. He had an excellent U-20 World Cup campaign this summer. He’s still very young, 19 years old.

One thing at a time. I say let’s primarily work on the DEFENCE in January. That’s causing us the most trouble.

 ———-

Around the Blog World…
JOSÉ I. FERNÁNDEZ at Un Grande sin Memoria has written an interesting entry on the Copa del Rey. He makes the point that a ‘big club’ hasn’t won the Copa in 10 years. Why? They don’t take it seriously, often utilising more reserve players for those particular games.

Atleti haven’t won it in 11 years. 11 YEARS! It would be a grand way to end the trophy drought, no? The key would be to play semi full strength squads for Copa games.

Meanwhile, Fernando at SENTIMIENTO ATLETICO writes a bit on three distinct players that have been linked to us this season:
(1) Riquelme (who has recently admitted to travelling to Madrid to finalise his signing before the start of the season, but was told the transfer would not go through. What does this demonstrate? That he did, in fact, have an interest in leaving Villarreal for Atleti.)
(2) Arteta (See above)
(3) Quaresma (now he’s rumoured to want to join Mandril).

In other news: Forza Atleti is a new blog I discovered. I found it at Sergio’s blog, LA GRADA. Sergio’s blog often focuses on club politics- very good.

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Jurado, Luis Perea, Raul Garcia, Rumours, Sergio Aguero | 2 Comments »

More Midweek Hodgepodge

Posted by atleti on November 14, 2007

Investing in the the future; the next Drogba…?
The club have reached a pre-agreement to sign 18 year old Ghana striker Sadick Adams in January. Brilliant signing for the future, no? He had an excellent U-17 campaign with Ghana.

“I wanted to play in Europe and to be here at Atlético de Madrid is a dream…I liked Atlético because of Fernando Torres and I still continue to follow his career at Liverpool.”

Adams will be incorporated into the B team, so his dream of training & playing with Kun and Forlan will have to wait a bit.

Welcome aboard!

———-

Miguel de la Cuevas back in action soon?
In a recent press talk he said that he is 100% recovered from his horrific injury a little over a year ago. He’s ready to start playing again and is happy that we are involved in three competitions this season (Liga, UEFA, Copa), which will give him playing opportunities “My objective is to stay with Atleti, I’m not thinking about leaving.”

———- 

UNRELATED: On the official website, Simao said: “Liga is difficult; the UEFA Cup or Copa del Rey are more achievable

———- 

Injury News
*Seitaridis will undergo surgery (achilles) in Finland this Monday. He’ll be out of action for the next 4-6 weeks. The injury certainly explains why he had an awful game against Almeria. Now is the time for Valera to step up & take over that position until he’s back.

*Raul Garcia trained a bit today, a week after having nasal surgery.

The training session also included Falcón, Eller, Antonio López, Zé Castro, Valera, Motta, Mista, Cléber, Miguel, and Luis García– in addition to De Gea, Rubiato, Didí and Javi Ruiz of the B team.

Leo Franco, Abbiati, and Reyes all received permission to be excluded from the session.

———

RUMOUR MILL OVERLOAD!
MARCA claim that we have already reached an agreement with Ajax with Heitinga. Apparently he will sign a 4-year contract at the end of this season.

Although this is not set in stone, Heitanga’s agent says the Dutchman is flattered by the interest & is attracted to the prospect of playing in Liga. His agent has ties in Spain as he is Wesley Sneijder’s agent, too.

In other news, it’s safe to say that we can scratch Lugano off the list of possible defenders that we are interested in. In a Tuttosport interview, made it clear he wants to join Juventus above all other clubs.

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Giorgios Seitaridis, Miguel de las Cuevas, Raul Garcia, Rumours, Simao Sabrosa | 5 Comments »