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 the ‘Intertoto’ Category

Atlético Madrid Enter UEFA!

Posted by atleti on July 28, 2007

After nearly 70 years of no European action, Atlético Madrid  beat Gloria Bistrita 2-2 (on away goals) to clinch a place in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Cup. They won the home leg 1-0 thanks to a fantastic, in-the-box strike by Forlán in the 11th minute, a defensive error on the part of the Romanian side.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t available for online viewing at all– and trust me, I checked everywhere. I listened via a Madrileño radio station.

Here are a few notes:

1st Half
-From beginning to his substitution in the 89th minute, Sergio ‘kun’ Agüero possessed immense strength, vision, and work ethic– not to mention absolute genius on the pitch. He was most unfortunate to not score a goal or two in the first half– he was on fire and no doubt had Atleti supporters at the edge of their seats with his promising performance this evening.

-Forlán and defender Pablo were also noted as having a solid first half– Forlán scoring his first goal as a rojiblanco by taking advantage of a defensive blunder by Gloria Bistrita. Indeed, I got the impression that kun and Forlán combined well– unfortunately, only one goal to show for it. All in all, the commentators noted the difference in attack with kun and Forlán when compared to the toothless front-line display of last weekend’s first leg of the Intertoto.

-Maniche was unfortunate to have his 32 min shot hit the bar.

-60% possession, and 4-5 clear shots at goal.

2nd Half
A lot of suffering in this half as there were defensive scares on the part of Atleti’s back-line. In the 59th minute, poor marking by– who else?– Luis Perea, almost led to an equalising goal for Gloria Bistrita.

Mariano Pernía was, to my surprise, chosen in the starting 11, but didn’t impress– from what I’ve read, it was ‘same-old, same-old’ by the Argentine left-back. Surely he’s on his way out of Atleti before the end of the summer–perhaps to Depor?

It was a usual, unimpressive performance by Luccin. Why he continues to occupy a starting 11 spot at all is beyond me. Es una verguenza.

Overall, I’m pleased: Atleti qualify for UEFA, Forlan scored his first goal for the club, and kun impressed with his performance. The best is yet to come.  I can hardly wait to see Simao in action.

Complaints? The defence is still very shaky and will be our downfall if we don’t strengthen it– in desperate need of a solid centre-back! The second half was less-than-convincing than the first half.

Leo Franco; Seitaridis (Eller 88’), Pablo, Perea, Pernía; Luccin, Maniche (Raúl García 76’), Maxi, Jurado; Forlán and Agüero (Braulio 89’).

Unused subs: Abbiatti, Antonio Lopez, Costinha, & Mista

Posted in Diego Forlan, Intertoto, Luis Perea, Pablo Ibanez, Sergio Aguero | 5 Comments »

Atlético Madrid’s Squad for Saturday’s Intertoto Game

Posted by atleti on July 27, 2007

Quick Entry.

Chosen squad for tomorrow’s home leg against Gloria Bistrita:

GK: Leo Franco & Abbiati

Defence: Seitaridis, Pablo, Perea, Fabiano Eller, Antonio López & Pernía

Midfield: Maxi, Maniche, Luccin, Jurado, Costinha & Raúl García

Strikers: Mista, Braulio, Forlán & Agüero.

Missing: Luis García & Cléber Santana are unavailable (injury/fitness).

Also Missing: Zé Castro, Portuguese centre-back, rumoured to be on his way out of the club this summer.

No Preview from me, but I hope that the team win by a comfortable margin and ease through to UEFA.  Also: this’ll be the first game Forlan and Aguero play for the club this season. Let’s hope they combine well and get on the scoresheet.

Click here for my thoughts on the 1st leg, away to Gloria Bistrita.

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Intertoto | 4 Comments »

Atlético Madrid’s Foreign Factor 07/08 Part II

Posted by atleti on July 23, 2007

Here’s Part I

Luis Perea qualifies for Spanish citizenship this week which means that the Colombian centre-back frees up an extracommunitarian spot. It’s a crucial spot that will probably be occupied by Cléber Santana for Atleti’s Intertoto home game against Gloria Bistrita. Cléber is an attacking midfielder and his services are desperately needed to secure a spot in UEFA this season.

Extracommunitarians at the moment:
-Sergio Agüero (striker)
-Fabiano Eller (defender)
-Cléber (midfielder)
-Diego Costa(striker)

It seems manageable, no? I would go so far as to say the club shouldn’t invest in any more non-euro-passport-carrying players.

As for Diego Costa, there’s still no word on whether he’ll be sent out on loan again. He’s still recovering from surgery.

In other news, MARCA reports that Atletico Madrid will offer 15m€ plus Costinha for Simao Sabrosa. It’s an exciting rumour as I believe he’d beef up the squad and prove that he can play in Liga. No more talk on him on the blog unless the transfer goes through.

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Diego Costa, Intertoto, Rumours, transfers | Leave a Comment »

Intertoto: Gloria Bistrita 2 Atlético 1 (1st Leg)

Posted by atleti on July 21, 2007

Dear God, I honestly don’t know where to begin. 

Atleti conceded two goals in the first half as a result of defensive errors. The first goal, in the 7th  minute, was the fault of Luis Perea: poor marking and casual defending by the Colombian centre-back. The second goal was caused by a shambolic pass by– who else?– midfielder Peter Luccin. Why on God’s green earth haven’t the club sold Luccin? He’s absolute rubbish; wasteful on free kicks, sloppy passing, and picks up cards for unnecessary tackles. A complete liability, he is.

Furthermore, why on earth did manager Aguirre field Luccin and Maniche as central midfielders with Raul Garcia, a natural in that position, as a second striker behind Mista? While I realise it is his first official game with the club and he will need time to adjust, it makes absolutely no sense to play him out of position. Raul looked almost uncomfortable. I hope that in future games he is not played as a support striker– a role, in truth, that belongs to a player like Luis Garcia.

When the scoreline read Gloria 2 Atleti 0, I was literally speechless. Atleti had plenty of possession, but lacked ideas and concentration for significant portions of the game. I can only remember one clear chance at goal for Maxi and he was most unfortunate to have his effort saved by the Gloria Bistrita keeper.

What saddened me most is that the team looked exactly like they did last season: lacking ideas, lacking that extra bit of creativity. In essence, Atleti lack a true playmaker to create goal-scoring opportunities.  They also, at least to me, lacked hunger & desire and did not threaten at goal as much as they should have.

As the Spanish commentator said at the end of the first-half, los rojiblancos needed a ‘change of attitude’ more than anything else.

The highlight of the second half (and the entire game for that matter) was Seitaridis ‘golazo’ from a long distance.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if Atleti expect to reach new heights this season, they must invest in a top-notch centre-back. I found myself biting my nails when the back-line were trying to clear dangerous balls from the area. Luis Perea and Leo Franco lacked communication– there were two instances where they nearly collided with each other to clear out a ball.

The front-line lacked bite and any real initiative with Mista as the main target-man (of course, the squad did lack two big signings, Forlan and Luis Garcia). Braulio did not shine at all.

Midfield, as I said previously, lacked a true playmaker. Maniche had a fairly decent game in comparison to others.

All in all, a completely disappointing result and performance, but at least Atleti managed to score one goal.

Hope springs eternal.

Gloria Bistrita: Albut; Frasinescu, Abrudan, Ragipovic (Damian, 72’), Sepsi; Rus Mircea, Nalati (Ion, 87’), Coroian (Caju, 59’), Dobre; Tilinca y Zaharia.

Atlético de Madrid: Leo Franco; Seitaridis, Perea, Eller, Antonio López; Luccin (Costinha, 75’), Maniche, Maxi, Petrov (Jurado, 57’); Raúl García y Mista (Braulio, 60’).

1 Gloria Atleti 0 (7′)
2 Gloria Atleti 0 (38′)
2 Gloria Atleti 1 (54′) Seitaridis

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Braulio, Intertoto, Leo Franco, Maxi Rodriguez, Raul Garcia | 7 Comments »

Javier Aguirre’s Squad for Intertoto Away Leg

Posted by atleti on July 19, 2007

Another quick entry.

Here’s manager Aguirre’s chosen 18:

GK: Leo Franco & Christian Abbiati

DEFENCE: Seitaridis, Perea, Pablo, Eller, Ze Castro, Antonio Lopez, and Pernia

MIDFIELD: Luccin, Costinha, Petrov, Raul Garcia, Jurado, and Maniche

OFFENCE: Maxi, Mista, and Braulio

Predictably strong squad for the away leg against Gloria Bistrita. This will be the first game for new arrivals Raul Garcia and Abbiati.

I’m most excited about the inclusion of Braulio (talked a bit about him here). The youngster will use any playing time as an opportunity to impress manager Aguirre.

Click here for more info on the Intertoto Cup.

I’ll be watching the away leg via livefooty.

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Braulio, Intertoto | 2 Comments »

Atletico Madrid’s Intertoto Adventure Begins Soon

Posted by atleti on July 18, 2007

Quick entry.

Tomorrow, Thursday 19-July, los rojiblancos will fly to Romania ahead of their Intertoto game on Saturday to familiarise themselves with the pitch and surroundings.

The away game against Gloria Bistrita will take place Saturday afternoon and will be televised on Telemadrid– hopefully it’ll also be available via livefooty for supporters on the other side of the pond!

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Intertoto | Leave a Comment »

Atletico Madrid to face Gloria Bistrita in Intertoto

Posted by atleti on July 14, 2007

After two hard-fought rounds against OFK Grbalj (Montenegro) and Maccabi Haifa (defeating the Israelis 2-3 in penalties), Gloria Bistrita secure their spot to the third round of the Intertoto, where they will face Atletico Madrid. The Romanians will be looking to frustrate los Rojiblancos as they did to Israeli giants Maccabi. Atletico Madrid, of course, view this as a crucial two-legged hurdle they must jump to enter UEFA.

As I’ve mentioned for the past week or so, reaching UEFA is a top priority for the club. I imagine that manager Javier Aguirre will take no chances and field a fairly strong side against Gloria Bistrita to avoid penalties.

2007 UEFA Intertoto Cup third round
First leg: 21/22 July (away)
Second leg: 28/29 July (home)

For starters, Diego Forlán will arrive to Madrid this Monday, 16-July for his medical examination, after which he’ll be officially presented to the press. At this point, it’s unclear whether he’ll participate in the third round action against the Romanian club– that’s five days from this Monday. He has been very active the past few weeks in Copa America and I suspect manager Javier Aguirre will encourage him to rest a bit–perhaps train lightly with the squad to ‘familiarise’ himself with his new teammates.

The following players have participated in recent training sessions:

GK: Leo Franco, Cuellar, Abbiati and Falcón

Defence: Seitaridis, Zé Castro, Eller, Pernía, Antonio López, Pablo, Regalón (from ‘B’ team) and Perea

Midfield: Raúl García, Petrov, Maxi, Jurado, Maniche, Luccin, Costinha, Cléber Santana, Jacobo (from ‘B’ team), and Miguel de las Cuevas.

Forward: Mista, Braulio, and Diego

Besides Forlan and Aguero (still impressing at the U-20 World Cup!), Luis Garcia hasn’t had an opportunity to join his fellow teammates; he’s still recovering from knee surgery he received in January ’07.

In other news (well, in the rumour-mill, at least), Riquelme is still strongly linked to a move to el Vicente Calderon. The move would, as I’ve mentioned before, re-unite him with ex-Villarreal striker Forlan– as well as joining fellow Argentines Maxi, Aguero, and Leo Franco.

There’s also some speculation in the Spanish press on Atleti turning their backs to Quaresma and considering a possible transfer move for Benfica’s Simao Sabrosa. Again, at this point, it’s all unclear.

Stay tuned!

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Diego Forlan, Intertoto, Javier Aguirre, Rumours | Leave a Comment »

“UEFA is our obsession” says Javier Aguirre

Posted by atleti on July 11, 2007

According to AS, MARCA, and the club’s official website, manager Javier Aguirre had a long discussion with Antonio López:

We have had a pleasant relationship for a while now, and we have spoken about many different things. We collectively and individually re-evaluated and analyzed last season’s performance and also examined what we should improve upon.

Will the Spaniard become the new captain of the team? It seems likely; for starters, with Torres out of the picture, the 26 year old Spanish left-back is the longest-serving player at the Vicente Calderon (he came up through the ‘B’ team).

As my title suggests, today Javier Aguirre also discussed the importance of the Intertoto, hopes to reach UEFA, and worries during his first press conference of the 07/08 season.

On the Intertoto:

The Romanian team has already surpassed the qualifying round, even though we already know that anything could happen in football. We know that the Gloria Bistrita is defensively a very organized team and this is a positive factor for their offence. They have also remained sixth in their league.

Too true; never underestimate your opponent (we did that way too often during 06/07, embarassingly). Atleti certainly come into the Intertoto as ‘heavyweights’, but the team need time to gel– there are six new additions to the club. Suffice to say, it takes some time to adjust to each other’s playing styles.

Manager Aguirre goes on to say:

It definitely worries me a bit that players such as Forlán, Aguero and Perea are on holidays. We are carefully observing them and will gradually make an evaluation. We are going to gradually and progressively use these players.

Too true again. These are key players to los rojiblancos’ 07/08 campaign. Their absence in current training sessions (no matter how ‘laxed’ these sessions may be) is a substantial loss. At the same time, the fact that Forlan, Aguero, and Perea have been on international duty is both good and bad in my eyes: on one hand, they have been playing and, as such, keeping physically fit. On the other hand, they will need some time to rest before the start of the season, not to mention Intertoto. Essentially, Intertoto is a punishment for not qualifying for UEFA as it shortens players’ holidays.

Posted in Antonio Lopez, Atletico Madrid, Intertoto, Javier Aguirre | 2 Comments »

Atlético Madrid Pre-season Happenings

Posted by atleti on July 5, 2007

Intertoto (click here for official site)
Since Atlético didn’t qualify for UEFA (ugh- don’t remind me) through their league position, they hope to reach it via the Intertoto route. As such, the club will begin training sessions next Monday for preparations (newly signed Forlan, Perea, and Aguero are excluded due to international duty). Los rojiblancos will face the winner of Maccabi Haifa v Gloria Bistrita (in Romania) on 21/22 July.

[Note: Copa America ends 15 July and U-20 World Cup ends 22-July]

More on this as the date approaches, of course.

Amsterdam Tournament (click here for official site)
In early June, Atlético, Arsenal, Ajax, and Lazio were invited to play in this summer tournament. Los rojiblancos will face Ajax on the 2nd of August and Lazio on the 4th. I view this tournament as an ideal way for manager Javier Aguirre to test the squad prior to the season- indeed, it’s a perfect opportunity to allow the players to develop a ‘rhythm’ together.

I find this excerpt from the main website very interesting:

As usual there will be a unique point system at the LG Amsterdam Tournament, with extra points given for each goal scored, which makes it possible for a team which loses its first game, still to win the tournament on Saturday. This system encourages attacking and spectacular play.

Again, not an important tourney, but a perfect opportunity for the squad to play together  against other clubs before the start of the season. Plus, they have an incentive to work on putting goals in the back of the net.

Back tomorrow for official transfer news (or otherwise), if any.

Posted in Amsterdam Tournament, Atletico Madrid, Intertoto | Leave a Comment »