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 ‘Juan Roman Riquelme’ Category

14-October Interview of GARCÍA PITARCH

Posted by atleti on October 15, 2007

Here’s an eye-opening interview of Garcia Pitarch, sporting director. Some of the phrasing is difficult to translate to English, but I tried my best.

INTERVIEWER: The name Riquelme [looms constantly…]…
Reply: The [expectation is normal]. There are, of course, external factors: the media, who give their opinion. And fans believe them, but that’s not how it is. Reality is another factor. With everything that surrounded him…I see that it was the best decision [to not go through with the transfer]. I’m glad that we did not sign him.

MY THOUGHTS: He’s glad we didn’t sign Riquelme?! So, he must obviously be happy we signed mediocre Eller and Cleber instead? RIDICULOUS.

INTERVIEWER: Each poor result will be a reminder of the transfer.
Reply: It’s all because of the Copa America. If not, there would be no case for Riquelme, and no expectations.

MY THOUGHTS: Here he claims that had it not been for Riquelme’s splendid display in the Copa America, there wouldn’t be a fuss or demand for him to join Atleti. This seems a bit bizarre. Yes, Riquelme had a fantastic Copa America, but he’s still one of the greatest footballers in the world. Granted, he is temperamental, which can be a deterrent, but to say that the attention over him was simply and only because of this summer’s Copa America is ludricous.

INTERVIEWER: But there is [still] debate [on it.]
Reply: No, that’s football. Had it not been Riquelme, it would have been Torres. This time around it was Riquelme; in Athletic Bilbao it was with Ezquerro and with Madrid it was with Kaka.

INTERVIEWER: Do you understand the idiosyncrasies of Atleti?
Reply: Valencia have a similar situation. But there is something that makes [Atleti] special. It’s that mystique of pessimism[…] I do not believe in it[…]

INTERVIEWER: Pablo continues to play; Jurado came from arch rivals [Real Madrid]; Reyes…
Reply: If the club decides to count on a footballer, it will do so [without the interference of the media, which is fleeting and not permanent]. It was a sporting decision and, every passing day, it’s clear that the club made the right decision. Pablo has returned to his best form, Jurado is important in the squad, and the supporters already see Reyes as indispensible[…]

INTERVIEWER: What do you know about the [extortion] of the ultras to the players in exchange for applause?
Reply: Nothing. Our work is subjected to social pressure, which fanatical groups are apart of. I do not know of any extortion. The only opinions I read are in blogs [and writings]…If that’s it, then there isn’t a problem.

INTERVIEWER: How did you feel when Torres announced his departure?
Reply: [We suspected it.] In fact, the previous season we signed Mista because we thought he might have left after the EURO games then. We had signed Forlan before his official exit.

MY THOUGHTS: Wait, WHAT? Another ridiculous decision. They extended Mista’s contract because they viewed him as a possible replacement for Torres when they thought he might leave?! Sad, truly sad. Lamentable.

INTERVIEWER: Were there bids for other players?
Reply: For Pablo, Seitaridis, Pernia, Maniche, Mista, and Maxi. But we counted on these players. With those with only one year left to their contracts, I suggested a transfer. That happened with Galletti, Petrov, and Luccin…

MY THOUGHTS: Among others, I still think it was a poor decision to keep Mista and let Atleti youngster Braulio go out on loan to Getafe.

INTERVIEWER: Will the club [prevent a departure of Agüero]?
Reply: Kun has an important clause in his contract. The market is [troubled] and there are few talented youngsters. If the club keep him, good; if not, the clause is high– and if [clubs] want him, it would be good business.

MY THOUGHTS: So, they’re basically willing to sell our top player for the right price. Depressing and appalling. Yes, I’m aware that it will always be difficult for us to hold on to our best players, but, even so, the club are ready to sell out for a pretty penny.

INTERVIEWER: So, who signs then: Gil, Cerezo, you, or Quilón?
Reply: […the President, the general director, the coach, and myself…]

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Braulio, Diego Forlan, Fernando Torres, Javier Aguirre, Jose Antonio Reyes, Juan Roman Riquelme, Jurado, Pablo Ibanez, Sergio Aguero | 9 Comments »

Goodbye Luccin, Hello Motta!

Posted by atleti on August 31, 2007

After three long seasons with Atleti, Frenchman Peter Luccin has joined Real Zaragoza after both clubs agreed to a fee of around €2.8 million. THANK YOU, ZARAGOZA! He joins ex-Atleti midfielder Gabi, who joined the Aragon club earlier in the transfer window.


Atleti have replaced him with Barcelona’s Thiago Motta on a season-long contract. It’s official, too: the club’s website says so. The more I think about it, the more I think the 24 year old will play an important role this season– he can play both as a defensive midfielder and as a defender. More details and official photo as it becomes available. He’ll be officially presented on Monday, according to Sport.

Meanwhile, the Riquelme situation is on ‘Stand by’ apparently (with no official announcement on the club website yet). To be honest, the more I think about it, the more this possible transfer move bothers me. If he doesn’t join the club, I won’t be heart-broken. Riquelme is easily one of my favourite players and an Argentine to boot, but if he’s unhappy with his surroundings he cannot (and will not) perform to the best of his ability. I don’t know the specific details on Villarreal, except that he had a falling out with management over there and refused to play anymore. I’d hate to see the same thing happen at Atleti. I hope for the best, either way.


Posted in Atletico Madrid, Juan Roman Riquelme, Thiago Motta, transfers | 2 Comments »

Transfer News: Riquelme Officially transfers to Atlético Madrid

Posted by atleti on August 30, 2007



 I first talked about this in mid-July when the rumour first surfaced and a little over a month since then, it has finally happened. Brilliant signing as we lack a playmaker. I don’t want to speak about the true genius of Riquelme (we all know about his abilities and vision on the pitch)– but I will discuss how his arrival will affect us, los rojiblancos, from a technical standpoint- formations and such.

At this point, I don’t think Aguirre has a clear idea of how he will form a squad around the Argentine without sacrificing Atleti favourite and fellow countryman, Sergio ‘kun’ Aguero. I’ve discussed a teeny bit of this in the below entry (check out the comment section). If we use a 4-2-3-1 formation, Aguirre will have to bench Forlan or Kun. With Forlan and Riquelme having played together at Villarreal and forming a dynamic pair over there– I think Aguirre will create formations based around them. Again, my main question mark surrounds KUN. I want to see the little Argentine in the starting 11– he’s in form, energetic, and I’d hate to see spend most of his time on the bench (like last season)– I want to see him play alongside Riquelme. Is it possible?

If anyone out that can come up with a formation that can incorporate Riquelme and Forlan without sacrificing Aguero, please share!

Another issue: one too many wingers without any guarantee of a starting spot now: Maxi, Simao, Reyes, Luis Garcia.

Luis Garcia: still mildly injury-prone and has been used more in Intertoto/UEFA games, I’ve noticed. He occupied a spot on the bench in round 1, but remain unused. Overall, I think he’s the least effected by the arrival of Riquelme, although it might mean less appearances in Liga games (unless there’s a significant injury).

Maxi: a great player and I’m quite excited that he’ll be able to work with Riquelme on the club-level. I think he’ll grow even more as a player.

Simao and Reyes: Manager Aguirre has used them interchangeably; if one is starting, the other will sub for him and vice versa. I can’t see this changing much. At this point, it appears Aguirre prefers Simao over Reyes, in terms of starting 11. We certainly can’t say we don’t have attacking options on the bench.

Today’s our final leg of the UEFA Qualifier against FK Vojvodina in Serbia (see entry below for details).

Surf in for details on our progress.

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Diego Forlan, Javier Aguirre, Jose Antonio Reyes, Juan Roman Riquelme, Luis Garcia, Maxi Rodriguez, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa, transfers | 8 Comments »

UEFA Qualifier & Rumours

Posted by atleti on August 29, 2007

First and foremost, my thoughts are with Antonio Puerta’s family, friends, and teammates. Best wishes to them during this time. Click here for photos of the funeral. Here’s a video of some of the events. 

Secondly, thanks to blog reader Thomas for his contribution & input in a previous entry. Your comment was sent to my spam filter, for some weird reason, but I de-spammed it.

Did you know…the largest officially-formed group (aka ‘peña’) of Atleti supporters outside of Spain exists in Serbia? According to AS, there are over 1000 of them. These supporters are in for a treat this Thursday (30th): they will have an opportunity to see their favourite club against FK Vojvodina in the final leg of the UEFA qualifier.

I don’t know if it’ll be available via the Internet, but it won’t matter much to me since I’ll be at work and following via Internet radio.

As a reminder, we’ve won the first (home) leg, 3-0. Let’s do the same as we did at home: keep a clean sheet and score a few goals!

Maxi to the press:

We want to win and dedicate the victory to Puerta.

GK: Abbiati, Leo Franco,

Defence: Antonio López, Seitaridis, Zé Castro, Pablo, Perea, Eller,

Midfield: Jurado, Maniche, Raúl García, Luis García, Maxi, Reyes, Cléber Santana,

Forward: Mista, Forlán, Simao.

Confirmed Starting 11: Abbiati; Perea, Eller, Zé Castro, Antonio López; Reyes, Raúl García, Cléber Santana, Luis García; Mista y Forlán.

Who’s missing?
Kun, Luccin, Pablo, Pernia,

Maniche has been called in to replace originally chosen Luccin— it appears that he is closer to a move out of the club and to the EPL, most likely Birmingham City.

This brings us back to the Thiago Motta rumour– if you recall, the Brasilian midfielder is linked to the club. AS claims that the Italo-Brasilian broke off negociations with Inter and is closer to signing for Atleti.

At the same time, remember that Riquelme link? Well, it’s back. There’s a story featured on AS, El Pais, and MARCA claiming Riquelme is on his way to the club within the week (possibly signing tomorrow); there has been an agreement between Atleti and Riquelme’s representatives. This would link him up with ex-Villarreal teammate Diego Forlan. Of course, this also brings into question the Foreign Factor. Atleti have three extracommuntarians at the moment: Kun, Eller, and Cleber. Not to mention squad formation.

While we’re still at it– there’s still more speculation in the press- Mista has been linked with a move to Espanyol. If you recall, he has expressed his desire to stay at the club (bleah!), but there are still a few days left in the transfer market, so who knows what’ll happen!

Posted in Antonio Lopez, Atletico Madrid, Christian Abbiati, Cleber Santana, Diego Forlan, Fabiano Eller, Giorgios Seitaridis, Javier Aguirre, Jose Antonio Reyes, Juan Roman Riquelme, Jurado, Leo Franco, Luis Garcia, Luis Perea, Maniche, Mariano Pernia, Maxi Rodriguez, Pablo Ibanez, Raul Garcia, Rumours, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa | 7 Comments »

Jornada 1: Re*l M*drid 2 Atlético Madrid 1

Posted by atleti on August 25, 2007

First, I’m disappointed with the result, but I’m also disappointed that I will not be able to watch this at all on TV. WHY? GolTV claims there were difficulties in broadcasting the derby live, worldwide. Unless you were physically at the stadium OR reside in Spain and purchased the derbi a la Pay-Per-View, then you could not see it. What the hell? So, I can’t properly comment on the game, unfortunately.

In any case, the FT score-line speaks for itself: 2-1. UGH. We started brilliantly, with Aguero scoring after only a minute into the game. After that, from what I’ve read on (an active Spanish-speaking Atleti supporter forum), things became very grim, frightening even, in terms of the defence. What have I been yelling about all pre-season? DEFENCE, DEFENCE, DEFENCE. We have made absolutely no improvement in that backline; just the usual suspects displaying sub-par performances.

Here are a few views of supporters on (translated):

In my opinion, this squad lacks balance [particularly, lacking in a solid, reliable centre-back and a top-notch right-back]. Pablo [was terrible].

My greatest disappointment was Maxi. Poor passing. He looked lost and Aguirre is doing the same he did with Torres, making him into an untouchable, which is wrong, since he should have been subbed out in the 2nd half for underperforming. He simply cannot play for a full 90.

The same as previous seasons.

Pernia is an absolute disaster. [ME CAGO EN SU PUTA MADRE QUE MALO ES].

We played well against one of the best clubs in Europe. We must continue on the road and not get worked up over this.

All very good points.

My disappointment? Why the hell didn’t manager Aguirre utilize LUIS GARCIA? He should have taken off Maxi and brought in LUIS GARCIA in his place. Why didn’t he utilize Cleber Santana? Why did he only make one damn substitution (Reyes for Simao)? It seems a bit absurd not to make at least two changes when you’re down a goal, particularly when there are players not performing to their best ability.

POST-Match Statements: 

Manager Aguirre: “I feel that the result was unjust and my team is hurting after that result. A draw would have been fair…The misfortune of conceding the second goal leaves a bad taste in the mouth.”

LEO FRANCO: ” We played well, but there things we must improve.”

RAUL GARCIA: “The team played well, and we had opportunities to win the game.”

UGH, I wish I was able to watch the game, so that I could verify if Aguirre is right or not.

Leo Franco; Seitaridis, Pablo Ibáñez, Perea, Pernía; Raúl García, Maniche, Maxi, Simão (Reyes, 62’); Agüero y Forlán.

1′ Aguero (0-1); 15′ Raul (1-1); 79′ Sneijder (2-1)


Posted in Atletico Madrid, Cleber Santana, Derby, Diego Forlan, Javier Aguirre, Jose Antonio Reyes, Juan Roman Riquelme, Leo Franco, Luis Garcia, Luis Perea, Maniche, Mariano Pernia, Maxi Rodriguez, Pablo Ibanez, Raul Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa | 10 Comments »

Derby Day & The Rumour Mill

Posted by atleti on August 21, 2007

Due to international duty, quite a few key players were unavailable for this week’s training session, namely Pablo, Pernia, Maxi, Seitaridis, Simao, Raul Garcia, and Jurado.

Who did participate? Leo Franco; Falcón; Antonio López; Luccin; Braulio; Mista; Zé Castro; Maniche; Vara; Eller; Kun; Reyes; Perea; Luis García; Forlán; Cléber Santana.

Early Thoughts on the Derby
The main focus is to have everyone uninjured, in tip-top shape for Saturday. I must say that I’m feeling very confident about derby at the Bern*beu. The Madrid-based media is completely out-of-control over Re*l M*drid‘s lacklustre pre-season form…pre-season crisis talks, essentially! Pressure is mounting for Schuster and he will want to start off the official 07/08 campaign with a win– Atleti cannot let their guard down and we must exploit their weak areas, namely their defence.

RUMOUR MILL has been a bit busy lately. Here are a few of the latest:

Costinha set for Serie A club Atalanta. MARCA (followed by GOAL.COM) jumped the gun and reported this, but it has not been made official since the media has reported it. I’m not surprised by the rumour– in fact, I do expect Costinha to leave before Saturday.

-AS reports the possibility of Peter Luccin departing for Benfica. This would no doubt mean Maniche and Raul Garcia would occupy centre-midfield, no? The AS article also seems to suggest that the departure of Luccin could make way for Riquelme— I highly doubt it.

-Spanish media also reports Benfica are interested in midfielder Miguel de las Cuevas. This, I hope, is not true. The poor Spanish midfielder is still recovering from an awful injury he sustained nearly year ago. If he stays, I can very well see him making sub-appearances for Atleti once he’s deemed fit. I’d be disappointed to see him let go.

Diego Costa— the young Brasilian striker who scored a goal against Getafe is rumoured to be on his way, whether it be on loan or permanently. He’s viewed as excess, in terms of extracommunitarians.

Mista. Dear old, well passed it, Mista. I’d love to see him go as it would allow Atleti youth striker Braulio an opportunity to be 3rd choice striker.

Ze Castro, another player linked to a move back to Portugal.

Let’s see how things pan out these next few days.

Posted in Antonio Lopez, Atletico Madrid, Braulio, Cleber Santana, Diego Costa, Diego Forlan, Fabiano Eller, Giorgios Seitaridis, Javier Aguirre, Jose Antonio Reyes, Juan Roman Riquelme, Juan Valera, Jurado, Leo Franco, Luis Garcia, Luis Perea, Maniche, Mariano Pernia, Mario Suarez, Martin Petrov, Maxi Rodriguez, Pablo Ibanez, Raul Garcia, Rumours, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa, Vara, Ze Castro | Leave a Comment »

Atletico Madrid: Foreign Factor for 07/08 Season

Posted by atleti on July 13, 2007

It’s all over the place: reports streaming from Spain claim that Atleti and Villarreal have agreed to a contract for Juan Roman Riquelme. The Argentine is expected to make a decision this Monday, the day after the Copa America final. So, at this point, it’s still very much in the air.

Regardless, this brings into question– in my mind at least– the ‘foreign factor’ of the team (since Spanish teams can only field 3 foreign players at one time). During the unveiling of Diego Costa, Technical Director Pitarch made it clear that the young Brasilian might be sent out on loan (for the third time) because of his non-European status.

At this moment, los rojiblancos have 4 non-European-Passport-carrying players: Brasilian defender Fabiano Eller, Argentine striker Sergio Agüero, Brasilian midfielder Cléber Santana, and Brasilian striker Diego Costa. If another non-Euro passport player is brought in, then there is absolutely no doubt that Diego Costa will once again go out loan.

As for Riquelme, his possible arrival to the club could quite possibly hinder the playing opportunities of his fellow countryman Sergio Aguero; Riquelme would be guaranteed a starting 11 spot (along with Brasilians Eller and possibly Cleber Santana). The Argentine playmaker would most likely play just behind lone-striker Forlan, which would move Maxi Rodriguez back to the right wing.

On a slightly different note, there are six central midfielders in the squad at the moment: new additions Cléber Santana and Raul Garcia– in addition to Luccin, Costinha, Maniche, and Jurado. I still suspect that Costinha is on his way out. The jury is still out on Maniche and Luccin (between the two, I’d keep Maniche as he receives less cards than Luccin)

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Diego Costa, Juan Roman Riquelme, Rumours, transfers | 10 Comments »