Atlético de Madrid

The love that hurts.

  • About Me

    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 January, 2008

Well, that’s that.

Posted by atleti on January 30, 2008

07/08 COLCHONERO OBJECTIVES

  • Win the Copa del Rey.

The one competition we had a genuine shot at winning and we crashed out of it against Valencia. VALENCIA! FULL-CRISIS MODE VALENCIA.

How did it happen? Well, after going up 2-0, Cléber gifts them their first goal. You remember Cléber, right? The €6 million Brasilian who was signed by Pitarch & Gil Marín. Two men who love wasting good money on mediocre players.

As a fellow blogger (Sergio) puts it, “This team is a disaster; no one knows how to play football. Maxi has been horrible, Luís García can already start looking for a new team, Reyes [is a joke], and above all, Agüero and Forlán must be asking themselves, “Why are we here?”

A bit over-the-top, but I couldn’t agree more.  At 2-0 up, it was OUR game to win. Instead, our rubbish players destroyed what little chance we had left.

If it’s not Cléber, it’s Pablo. If it’s not Reyes, it’s Eller. And so on and so forth.

Seriously, how the hell are we going to get through this season with such a rubbish defence and no playmaker?

Luck? We don’t have that either.

I don’t know what else to say. I’m angry, disappointed, and frustrated.

Positives? Agüero, Forlán, and Raul played well. Of particular note, Miguel also played rather well with the few minutes Aguirre gave him. Will the Mexican give him more playing time? Who knows? I honestly have no faith in the man.

So, anyway…what else is left on our list for this season?

  • Win Liga.

Impossible at this point. 16 points separates us from the #1 spot, mostly due to dropping points as a result of poor finishing or poor defending (eg Murcia, Villarreal, Almeria, Mallorca, Espanyol, Recreativo).

  • Win the UEFA Cup. 

The only Cup competition we have left, and, truth be told, a tough one to crack when compared to the Copa. Nevertheless, I hope that we continue to progress in this one. Next up: struggling Bolton away…

  • Secure a Champions League spot.

Still a possibility, but then again, who the hell knows with the way we’ve been playing? I’m still hopeful of at least a #4 finish…it’s be a miracle. (It’s the only way we can assure ourselves of not losing any top players during the summer.)

Our next five (Liga) games:

-home to Real Murcia (#17)
-away to Racing (#6)
-home to Athletic Bilbao (#16)
-away to Osasuna (#23)
-home to Barcelona (#2)

The next four, in particular, are absolute must-wins. Barcelona will be the toughest test– anything we can take out of this game would be a plus.

…Next up? Home to Murcia (LIGA).

It’ll be good to have Raul & Motta in the midfield. Both should be in tip-top  shape. 

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Posted in Atletico Madrid, Cleber Santana, Copa del Rey, Diego Forlan, Javier Aguirre, Miguel de las Cuevas | 17 Comments »

Copa: Atlético de Madrid v Valencia (0-1 agg)

Posted by atleti on January 29, 2008

Brief entry.

Please, for the love of God, let us win this game and end the horrid three-game losing streak & goal drought! I don’t think I can take much more of this. It’s embarrassing enough that we enter the game with a goal deficit (against a Valencia team on an almost endless downward spiral)– not to mention the fact that we didn’t have a single shot on goal against Mallorca on Sunday…

I hope we win & advance to the next round of Copa (perhaps the final nail on Koeman’s coffin?). It won’t be pretty, but I think the pressure will motivate the team do just enough to knock Valencia out.

[UPDATE] STARTING 11: Falcón; Perea; Eller; Valera; Antonio; Cléber; Reyes; Maxi; Luis García; Forlán; Agüero.

SUBS: Abbiati, Pernía, Pablo, Miguel, Raul Garcia.

Hmm.

For US supporters, set your DVR: it’ll be on GolTV at 5.00pm (NY time, delayed viewing).

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Copa del Rey | 31 Comments »

Jornada 21: Mallorca v Atlético de Madrid

Posted by atleti on January 26, 2008

“We’re going to Mallorca to win” said Aguirre during today’s press talk.

Here’s the info he provided:

STARTING 11: Abbiati; Valera, Pablo, Éller, Pernía; Motta, Cléber, Reyes, Luis García; Mista & Forlán.

SUBS: Falcón, Perea, Miguel, Álex Quillo, Camacho, Rubiato, Agüero.

Kun will be in the starting 11 because, as Aguirre puts it, rotation is necessary to keep everyone well-rested. Same thing goes for PereaValera will play in his place for this game (after performing well against Valencia in midweek).

Ignacio Camacho, Álex Quillo and Rubiato, all Atleti B team players, have been given an opportunity to join the top team. It would be great for one, two, or even all three of them to be given some playing time. It all depends on how the game pans out, of course. Still, it’s always good to see the top cantera in the squad list.

It’s a weakened side, no doubt about it, but I think we’ll do just enough (albeit barely) to get the 3 points. 

INJURED: Leo Franco, Seitairidis, Zé Castro, Jurado, Raúl García & Simao.

SUSPENDED: Antonio López & Maxi.

In terms of Mallorca (in 13th place with 23 points), they will have two key players available up front: Ibagaza (ex-Atleti player) & Güiza (11 Liga goals for the Spaniard).

Here’s Mallorca’s previous five Liga games:
2-2 away draw against Levante.
2-2 away draw against Zaragoza.
0-2 home loss against Barcelona.
3-1 away loss against Osasuna.
0-0 home draw against Athletic.

A disappointing string of results for them in Liga recently. There are only ‘real’ highlight has been beating Real Madrid in the Copa and advancing to the quarterfinals.

Previous Results for Mallorca v Atlético fixture:
06/07 season: 0-0 draw.
05/06 season: 2-2 draw.
04/05 season: 1-1 draw.
03/04 season: 0-1 win (90′ goal).
02/03 season: 0-4 win.

Three consecutive draws in this fixture. A draw wouldn’t be of any help to our Champions League aspirations. The team need to go out there and seek the victory… The supporters have had a rough week of results (two consecutive) losses in a row)– a win would lift both team & supporter morale.

Ah, Aguirre acknowledged that the club are in talks with Juventus over a possible loan deal for Tiago. This wouldn’t be such a bad idea, I think. He’s 100% fit, having played so little for the Italian club this season. Plus, it would only be a loan deal. BBC have said that Tottenham failed in attracting him to White Hart Lane (apparently he would prefer a move to Spain instead). Let’s see how this turns out.

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Javier Aguirre, Juan Valera, Rumours, Sergio Aguero, Thiago Motta | 35 Comments »

Copa: Valencia 1 Atlético de Madrid 0 (1st leg)

Posted by atleti on January 23, 2008

I have very little to say except…

  • Pablo once again made a costly error. This guy is rubbish– mediocre, at best. He’s not Champions League quality. He’s not UEFA Cup quality. He needs to be shown the exit in the summer. End of story. (Same goes for the other defenders, in truth).
  • Clos Gómez is one of the worst referees in Spain and I’m almost convinced he hates Atlético. Among other things, he’s all too happy to give us cards. Motta‘s sending off was ridiculous. What’s more, his suspension comes at a time when we have such a long list of injuries.
  • Falcón and Valera both made key saves in the back. Falcón, in particular, has proven to be quite a good goalkeeper. When you think about it, if it weren’t for Leo‘s injury set-back, we might have never seen him play this season at all.

Overall, though, it was a poor performance by the team. Miraculously, Valencia didn’t kill the game, despite having the man advantage and holding 70% possession for long periods at a time. They’ll regret their inability to put the game beyond our reach when they had the chance.

Next up: away to Mallorca (Liga).

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Copa del Rey, Juan Valera, Pablo Ibanez, Thiago Motta | 10 Comments »

Copa: Valencia v Atlético de Madrid (1st leg)

Posted by atleti on January 23, 2008

Copa Quarterfinal Time.

Aguirre has told the press that the Copa is our ‘#1 priority’, in terms of realistic silverware this season, I suspect. UEFA is probably a close second. The league, of course, is always important.

Reminder: tomorrow’s (Wednesday’s) game will be at 22.00, Spain time. It will be on TV (GolTV channel) for those of us in the US.

STARTING 11: Falcón, Valera, Pablo, Perea, Pernía, Motta. Luis García, Cléber, Maxi, Mista, Agüero.

SUBS: Abbiati, Eller, Miguel, Reyes, Forlán.

Slim pickings due to injuries, unfortunately (Leo Franco, Seitaridis, Raúl García, Simão, Jurado, and Zé Castro).

If you think that’s bad, this Sunday we will be without Maxi and Antonio López due to suspension.

In terms of Valencia, they’re still in full-crisis mode. The problems seem almost endless, with no light at the end of the tunnel. We’re playing away from home, which is never easy, but I still think we should do fine. A win would be perfect. A draw would be OK, but would leave the home leg wide open.

Let’s hope for a good game and positive result.

Plenty of great commentary on the derbi here and elsewhere in the blogosphere. Here’s an excerpt from Helena’s Futblogeras blog (my translation):

“Atleti’s problems aren’t new. We all know about them. The team needs reinforcements and intelligent signings– not a new stadium. Atleti need to shed its mediocrity image/complex, which has been exploited by its owners, and honour its history and supporters.”

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Copa del Rey | 17 Comments »

Jornada 20: Atlético de Madrid 0 Re*l M*drid 2

Posted by atleti on January 21, 2008

Same old disappointing story with the usual suspects: Raúl, Casillas, poor defending,  bad luck, mediocrity, & an awful ref.

Lots of good points about the game were made in the below entry (see the comment section), so no need for me to create a new entry on the game.

Just one very important point I’d like to make here: Los Colchoneros have lost against all  top sides so far this season (Barcelona, Villarreal, Espanyol, and twice to Re*l )…

Our next 5 games:
23-January: away to Valencia (Copa)
27-January: away to Mallorca (Liga)
30-January: home to Valencia (Copa)
3-February: home to Murcia (Liga)
10-February: away to Racing (Liga)

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Derby | 24 Comments »

Jornada 20: El Derbi Madrileño at El Vicente Calderón

Posted by atleti on January 18, 2008

 

Is this the season that we finally win Mandril at home, after so many years? PLEASE GOD PLEASE. Not only would it be incredible for our Champions League aspirations, but it would give long-suffering supporters all over the world something to remember for years to come.

Since returning to the top flight in 02/03, it hasn’t been pretty fixture of us: 4 painful losses and 1 draw. That one draw was last season, by the way (1-1).

This Sunday will be another tough test for los colchoneros, but you know what? It won’t be a lop-sided affair this time around because we have a strong squad (compared to previous seasons). I really feel like we can take something out of this game, whether it be the full 3 points or even a point. We’re playing at home, our key players are fit and feeling confident & motivated.

Here’s the current league table:
1 Re*l M*drid  47
2 Barcelona  40
3 Atlético  37

This appears to be the starting 11: Abbiati, Luis Perea, Pablo, Eller, Antonio López, Maxi, Raúl García, Motta, Simao, Agüero, Forlán.

SUBS: Falcón, Valera, Pernía, Cléber, Luis, Reyes, Mista.

PERTINENT DETAILS
Injured:
Leo Franco, Seitaridis, Jurado, Zé Castro(?)

Yellow Cards: Maxi & Reyes are one yellow card away from serving suspensions.

———-

Here’s Re*l’s Injury List (and it’s a long one!): Metzelder, Heinze, Soldado, Robben, Balboa, Pepe, Saviola, & Salgado. I think I read somewhere that Pepe & Salgado might be recovered in time for it. Any info on this, post it.

Re*l’s Suspensions: None.

Re*l’s African Cup of Nations Duty: Diarra.

Of all the players on their squad, I think van Nistelrooy, Higuaín, and Casillas will give us the biggest headache.

A few words from Forlán:
“I do not think that going out of the cup will affect Madrid. These things happen and they have had plenty of time to motivate themselves ahead of this game.”

A few words from Kun:
“I hope that I can score against Real Madrid […] Casillas is very good and it will be difficult to score past him, but not impossible […] It will be important to beat Madrid because we have not been able to for a long time. Sunday is vital, but our first priority is to play well and then win.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Maxi has boldly said that “We will win 2-0” with goals scored by Raúl García and himself. “…And, if you don’t win?” asked the interviewer. “Nothing will happen, we’ll draw.”

More from Maxi: “A derby is a special game, besides, it’s played with more  heart than anything else […] Madrid’s strongest point is that when they attack they usually score and they play very well. I do not see any weaknesses at the moment.”

A few words from Raúl García:
“There isn’t a definite favourite and I believe that Atleti is fully capable of taking the 3 points.”

In terms of fatigue (cansancio), he said that he hopes to play all minutes up until the end of the season. “I’ll have time to relax at the end of the season, in the summer.”

Good man.

Bottom-line: Stay focused, remain tight in the back-line, maintain a strong midfield presence, and score score score!

Or, Win ugly! Just win!

VAMOS A POR ELLOS!!
ATLETI!

Pre-game: Any thoughts? Predictions? Who will play a large part in the game for Atleti, in your opinion? Anything missing? Share.

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Derby | 50 Comments »

Copa del Rey: Valladolid 1 Atlético de Madrid 1

Posted by atleti on January 16, 2008

We’re into the quarterfinals. No one picked up any injuries. Motta played a full 90 for the first time this season. Mission Accomplished! What else is there to say?

Falcón; Valera, Perea, Pablo Ibáñez, Pernía; Raúl García, Motta, Luis García (Maxi 64’), Reyes (Simão 54’); Kun Agüero (Cléber 82’) & Forlán.

GOAL
48′ Agüero (assist by Luis)

Ah, we were very lucky the ref didn’t award them a penalty when the scoreline was 1-1…

They better not do that shit against Re*l.

Moving on…

Motta, Mister Fragile: “I feel good. My knee has responded perfectly…and I feel happy about that. But, above all, I feel happy because the team has [made it the quarterfinals]…”

The rest of his interview is about the derbi, which he says the team are now completely focused on. As he puts it, they have four days to relax and prepare themselves for it.

So, that’s that.

Now onto the derbi!

As a side note, as all of you know by now, Aguirre has said that the club won’t consider signing new players in the transfer window until after the derbi. Some names being tossed around by various media sources: Albelda, Benfica’s Katsouranis and Liverpool’s Sissoko. We’re also linked to Werder Bremen’s Borowski. What do you think?

In any case, expect derbi blog entry soon enough!

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Copa del Rey | 12 Comments »

Motta is back. Again.

Posted by atleti on January 15, 2008

He has been included in the squad list for tomorrow’s final leg against Valladolid (Copa):

STARTING 11: Falcón; Valera; Pablo; Perea; Pernia; Luis; Raúl; Motta; Reyes; Kun; Forlán.

SUBS: Abbiati; Eller; Maxi; Cleber; Simão; Mista

A few words from Motta:
“I feel good after the final operation […] I have been training regularly and I’m happy that my knee has responded well.”

So, will Motta start or will come in as a sub? My guess is that we’ll have a Cléber-Motta tomorrow from the very beginning. And, if all works according to plan (in other words, he remains injury-free), he’ll be set to start alongside Raúl on Sunday.

A few words from Aguirre:
“I’ve said many times that this week is very important. We won Valencia, and now we have two other important key games, the Copa one and the derbi.”

Bottom-line: We must win tomorrow in order to progress to the Copa quarterfinals. Now is not the time to slip on a banana skin.

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Thiago Motta | 35 Comments »

Jornada 19: Atlético de Madrid 1 Valencia 0

Posted by atleti on January 13, 2008

Los Colchoneros climb to #3 after another bizarre night at el Vicente Calderón– the final minutes were unbearable! Pure suffering.

Agüero scored the only goal thanks to a shocking error by Valencia goalkeeper Hildebrand.

Abbiati; Perea, Pablo, Eller, Antonio López; Raúl García, Cléber Santana, Maxi (Luis García 91’), Simão; Forlán (Reyes 71’) and Kun Agüero (Valera 93’)

Truth be told, it was another odd game: we went up before half-time as the better side, but allowed Valencia to dominate play in the second half (with Joaquín & Silva causing the most havoc). We played far too much in our own end — up until the dying minutes. Not to mention losing possession in the midfield all too frequently.

SERGIO at La Grada Blog makes a few points that I most definitely agree with: with the exception of Raúl & Agüero, the overall play & attitude of the team leaves much to be desired. That’s not to say that the team (as a whole) doesn’t play well. We’ve all seen them play great football with quick touches and fantastic combinations. It’s just disconcerting that they don’t MAINTAIN that same level of play for the ENTIRE 90 minutes…particularly when they score first.

Switching gears a bit…the sooner Cléber returns to the bench (or, leaves altogether), the better. He is NOT starting 11 quality. Hell, he’s not Liga quality. It’s an absolute shame that a class player such as Raúl has him for a midfield partner. Speaking of which, Raúl has been playing practically non-stop for us. Incredible talent, but I’d hate to see him burn out before the end of the season– or worse, suffer an injury. It’s driving me insane that Jurado is re-injured and Maniche had to act like a dick and get himself banished from the club. Our options are so slim at this point.

Defence looked good, for the most part. Antonio, I think, has proven that he deserves a regular starting 11 spot instead of Pernía. It’s good to see him receiving more minutes of play and proving that it was a tactical error to keep him benched during the early part of the season.

The thing that pissed me off was the substitution of Forlán for Reyes. What the hell? Did anyone else notice Forlán’s reaction? I was watching the game at a bar, so I couldn’t hear what the commentators had to say about it, but he looked rather peeved. Pernía had to settle him down a bit at the bench, it seemed. When I came home, I didn’t notice any online headlines about the outburst. Anyway, I completely understand and sympathise with Forlán, if that was the case. It seemed like an idiotic, risky tactical move by Aguirre, removing the Uruguayo when we’re only 1 up for rubbish Reyes. WHY DOES HE CONTINUE TO USE REYES INSTEAD OF LUIS OR MIGUEL? I will never understand this at all. He got the substitutions all wrong, again, but thankfully it didn’t cost us. A better manager wouldn’t make the sort of decisions that Aguirre makes on a weekly basis.

Aggravations aside (it’s been a day of mixed emotions, as usual), I’m very happy we collected 3 points today. 3 points AND we’re in #3 Champions spot. I’m loving it…suffering, but loving it.

If we play this way against Re*l, we won’t stand a chance.

Here’s our next 6 fixtures:
16-Jan: away to Valladolid (COPA)
20- Jan: at home, MADRID DERBI (LIGA)
27-Jan: away to Mallorca (LIGA)
3-Feb: home to Murcia (LIGA)
10-Feb: away to Racing (LIGA)
13-Feb: away to Bolton (UEFA)

Anything missing?

(Check out all comments on the game in the previous entry, if you haven’t already- lots of good thoughts on it.)

Posted in Antonio Lopez, Atletico Madrid, Cleber Santana, Diego Forlan, Javier Aguirre, Jose Antonio Reyes, Maniche, Mariano Pernia, Raul Garcia, Sergio Aguero | 26 Comments »