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 the ‘Leo Franco’ Category

Jornada 34: Getafe v Atlético de Madrid

Posted by atleti on April 26, 2008

The Other Madrid Derbi.

#4 Atleti 54

#13 Getafe 41

STARTING 11: Leo Franco; Antonio López, Pablo, Perea, Pernía; Camacho, Raúl García, Maxi, Luis García; Forlán and Agüero.

SUBS: Abbiati, Zé Castro, Seitaridis, Cléber, Jurado, Miguel, Mista.

This lineup frightens me a little bit, I won’t lie. Will they do enough to get the job done? I would’ve preferred to see Miguel in the starting 11 than Luis, but that’s just me.

Anyway, Zé Castro, Mista, & Jurado return to the bench.

And Motta, Simao, & Reyes are unselected due to injury.

Getafe’s squad list: Pato, Ustari, Contra, Cata Díaz, Belenguer, Licht, David Cortés, Tena, Mario Cotelo, Gavilán, De la Red, Sousa, Casquero, Pablo Hernández, Granero, Manu, Albín & Kepa.

Getafe’s Recent five results:
3-1 away loss against Levante.
0-0 home draw against Zaragoza.
0-0 away draw against Barcelona.
0-2 home loss against Osasuna.
1-0 away loss against Athletic.

Dreadful run of form at the moment, which surprises me a bit because they were doing so well until they were dumped out of the UEFA Cup and Copa del Rey.

PREVIOUS GETAFE V ATLETI FIXTURE RESULTS
06/07 season: 1-4 win for us.
05/06 season: 0-3 win for us.
04/05 season: 1-1 draw.
03/04 season: Getafe were in the 2nd division.
02/03 season: Getafe were in the 2nd division.

Not a bad record at their stadium, but this is a tricky fixture considering how desperate they are to pick up 3 points. That said, we seriously cannot afford to lose or draw– only a few points separate us from Racing and Sevilla. A loss would drop us to #5.

Let’s just win! I don’t care how we do it…let’s just leave there with 3 points.

Meanwhile, Maxi is still with a move out of the club (Juventus & Liverpool monitoring his situation), but President Cerezo has said he is staying put…

Lucho Gonzalez is rumoured to be one of our summer targets as is Hilario Navarro, goalkeeper of Racing Club…

Anything missing? Share!

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Posted in Atletico Madrid, Jose Antonio Reyes, Jurado, Leo Franco, Luis Garcia, Maxi Rodriguez, Miguel de las Cuevas, Pablo Ibanez, Rumours, Simao Sabrosa, Thiago Motta, Ze Castro | 20 Comments »

Back from the dead.

Posted by atleti on March 12, 2008

When Atleti lose, it demotivates me…a lot. All I want to do is sing their praises here, but when they lose against the likes of Zaragoza in such a disgraceful manner, it’s, well, discouraging…to the point where I can’t even bring myself to blog about the mayhem.

Hence, the blog-laziness.

/rant over.

Moving on…

INJURY LIST
It’s short. Motta is still in the USA recuperating from his latest knee operation while Valera continues to recuperate from the knock he picked up against Zaragoza.

Maxi left the latest training session early because he had a bit of pain…precautionary decision.

Seitaridis has been participating in training sessions after nearly three months out with injury. Same goes for Leo Franco, but I doubt the Argentine will play much.  Should Abbiati continue on as 1st choice keeper or should Leo Franco reclaim his spot? I’d stick with Abbiati at this point.

RUMOUR GOOD NEWS!
Word is we’re looking for a club for Reyes, easily the worst signing of 07/08. …12 million euros down the drain, but thank goodness he’ll be shown the exit at the end of the season.

Anyway, next up? #20 Levante at home…

…be back with an entry on that.

Anything missing? Share.

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Christian Abbiati, Giorgios Seitaridis, Juan Valera, Leo Franco, Maxi Rodriguez, Thiago Motta | 24 Comments »

Midweek Hodgepodge/Talking Points

Posted by atleti on March 4, 2008

A bit of a busy few days for me recently- I apologise for the lack of entries and commenting on other blogs. I hope to get back to my normal routine soon enough.

KUN TALK OF THE TOWN

Ever since his performance against Barcelona, the press have been gushing about him- and rightly so. KUN is world-class and arguably one of the best strikers we’ve ever had at the club.

Meanwhile, Maradona on our defence after the Barcelona game:
“How did I see my ‘son-in-law’ against Barcelona? When Ronaldinho scored early on, I thought Barça were going to run all over them, but then Sergio awakened…He showed his quality and began to make life hard for Milito and Puyol…However, of course, the Atletico defence is like that of Flandria, but in the end everything went well.”

OK, I know what you’re thinking: Who cares what Maradona thinks. I normally don’t pay much mind to his press talks, but this is Atleti-related so I had to include it.

INJURY UPDATE NEWS
Leo Franco
has officially recovered from his injury. He’s back to full training with the squad. I don’t expect him to play right away, but his return to 100% match fitness means the eventual end of Falcón’s time as second choice goalkeeper. I wonder, then, What will become of the promising young goalkeeper this summer– Will we keep him? Or…?

Seitaridis is nearing the end of his recuperation and is expected to re-join the team during training sessions soon.

Simão seems to have picked up a slight knock and trained lightly recently– nothing severe, thankfully.

Motta? Well, he’ll be out for the rest of the season. It’s a shame we didn’t sign him on a pay-as-you-play contract during the pre-season…

OUR NEXT FIVE FIXTURES
Zaragoza v Atlético
Atlético v Levante 
Sevilla v Atlético
Villarreal v Atlético
Atlético v Almeria

Not a bad schedule, all things considered. Sevilla & Villarreal away will be the toughest of the bunch.

Simão on the rest of the season:
“All of the twelve games left are important, and we must start with a win against Zaragoza, who are having a difficult time at the moment, but have a lot of quality and do not deserve to be in the position they currently occupy. It will be a difficult encounter, but we come into it in good spirits and must continue a positive run.”

RUMOUR-MILL ON FIRE
Fiorentina’s Czech defender Ujfalusi has once again been linked to us.

AS also reports that we might be ‘fishing’ for talent at Liverpool this summer: Benitez, Xabi, and Reina. Xabi, in particular, appears to be a player that has fallen our of favour at Liverpool. Reina’s father played for Atleti many years ago, so he would be more than welcome to the club.

Anything missing?

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Giorgios Seitaridis, Leo Franco, Liverpool, Rumours, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa, Thiago Motta | 13 Comments »

Jornada 22: Atlético de Madrid 1 Murcia 1

Posted by atleti on February 3, 2008

Los Colchoneros fall flat again.

Abbiati; Perea, Pablo, Eller (Luis García 55’), Pernía; Motta, Raúl García, Maxi, Simão (Miguel 46’); Agüero (Cléber 71’) & Forlán

GOALS
51′ Jofre (penalty as a result of Eller hauling down a player in the box)
62′ Luis García

Unfortunately, the game wasn’t on TV over here, but I followed the first half on El Mundo’s live-text. I missed the second half (weekend errands) and hoped that I would see a winning score-line when  . That, unfortunately, wasn’t the case.

Fellow blogger Fernando has provided one of his concise and always good recaps for the game. I translated some of it, for non-Spanish speakers:

“Atlético de Madrid is no longer in the Champions zone. Los Rojiblancos drop to fifth place, a point below Espanyol & Villarreal. Aguirre’s team have collected only 1 point in their last three Liga games. This, coupled with the elimination of the Copa, leaves Los Colchoneros in a very bad run of form. In addition, Agüero will be injured for the the next two weeks after receiving a hard knock to the knee.”

“Atlético made the same errors once again: fragile defence, lack of creativity […] erractic game through the flanks, and little reaction from substitions.”

“Atlético deserved to win because they had more possession and opportunties at goal. While they didn’t play very good, at least they continued to search for the victory, unlike Murcia who resorted to long ball tactics & time wasting. The supporters left the stadium disillusioned and fed up after another disappointing afternoon at elEstadio Vicente Calderón.”

Good summarisation of the game.

Oh, and to top it all off, after the game, Leo Franco, angered by the injury sustained by his compatriot Agüero, initiated a fight in the tunnel with a few of the Murcia players.

I honestly don’t know what to say. Same crap over and over and over again. I thought this would be the game that would give the team a major boost and return us to winning ways. Instead, it’s another disaster, thanks once again to our weakest links (and lack of a playmaker).

To make matters worse, we travel to Racing (#6) who are in fairly good form at the moment.

Will we secure a Champions spot? A UEFA spot? An Intertoto spot? Will Aguirre resign if we receive another bad result next week? Who knows at this point.

Same crap, different season…

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Fabiano Eller, Leo Franco, Luis Garcia, Sergio Aguero | 8 Comments »

Moving on…

Posted by atleti on December 18, 2007

Two more days (the 20th) until our final UEFA game, home to Panathinaikos. A win will mean finishing #1.

Today, Antonio López rejoined the team after taking time off to mourn the recent death of his sister. Best wishes to him & his family.

Agüero was back from his trip to the  FIFA World Player Gala, where he won the award for best player of the U-20 World Cup. He had an opportunity to mingle with the likes of Kaká, his good friend Messi, Ronaldo, et al. Congratulations to him!

Maniche seems to have recovered from that slight injury he picked up a few days ago; he trained with the rest of his teammates. Hopefully he’ll be back to good form in time for Thursday.

Meanwhile, Jurado & Seitaridis seem to be recuperating well from their respective injuries. Both trained in an alternative session with the physical therapist.

Motta, Leo Franco & Pablo (gastroenteritis) didn’t participate in today’s session.

Posted in Antonio Lopez, Atletico Madrid, Giorgios Seitaridis, Leo Franco, Maniche, Pablo Ibanez, Sergio Aguero, Thiago Motta | Leave a Comment »

Copa: Granada 74 v Atlético de Madrid

Posted by atleti on December 11, 2007

So, it begins…the third competition on our ‘must-win’ agenda.

First things first:

STARTING 11: Falcón; Valera, Pablo, Zé Castro, Antonio López; Raúl García, Cléber, Luis García, Simão; Mista and Forlán.

SUBS: Abbiati, Miguel, Perea, Álex Quillo, Ignacio Camacho.

Agüero, Maxi, Maniche, Eller & Pernía are being rested.

Motta has been excluded in order to prevent another major injury setback…this is getting annoying, eh? Such a great player riddled with injuries!

SQUAD NOTES
*This will be Falcón‘s first game for the team. On the subject of goalkeepers, Leo Franco‘s operation (in Finland) was successful, so he is now on the road to recovery.

*Mista plays his first game since recovering from his own long-term injury.

*Miguel!!! Such a fantastic prospect before his horrific injury a little over a year ago. Well, the good news is that he is back in the squad. If we find ourselves in a comfortable position, I hope that he is given some playing time. Here’s hoping he returns to good form again.

*Álex Quillo & Ignacio Camacho: two important B team players have a spot reserved on the bench. I’d also like to see one of them get a little playing if things go smoothly.

(NB: We play the 2nd leg at home on 2-January.)

BOTTOM-LINE: This is a game we should win. No ifs, ands, or buts. This is a Segunda division team in 6th place.

Here are their recent 7 results:
Racing Ferrol 1 Granada 3
Granada 1 Sporting 0
Numancia 0 Granada 2
Granada 1 Albacete 0
Xerez 2 Granada 1
Granada 0 Elche 0
Las Palmas 0 Granada 1

They’ve been on a fairly good run since October & have conceded few goals at home.

That should change tomorrow.

VAMOS ATLETI

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Copa del Rey, Leo Franco, Miguel de las Cuevas, Thiago Motta | 13 Comments »

UEFA: FC Copenhagen v Atlético de Madrid

Posted by atleti on December 3, 2007

Reminder: The game is on 5-December at 20.45pm.

A victory in this game would seal our place in the last 32.

STARTING 11: Abbiati; Antonio López; Pablo; Eller, Pernia; Simão; Motta; Cleber; Luis; Agüero; Forlan.

SUBS: Falcón; Raúl García; Maxi; Reyes; Maniche; Mista; Perea

Leo Franco will be out for 3 weeks after pulling his right calf muscle yesterday. I don’t expect him to play until Liga returns in 2-January. Hopefully, Abbiati won’t get injured.

Group B————-Pld————Pts
Panathinaikos——– 2————- 6
Atlético————– 2————–4
København———–2————–3
Lokomotiv Moskva—3————–2
Aberdeen————-3————–1

Moving On…Copenhagen’s recent 5 results:
Midtjylland 2-2 Copenhagen (Superliga)
Nordsjaelland 1-1 Copenhagen (Superliga)
Copenhagen 1-1 OB (Superliga)
Locomotiv Moscow 0-1 Copenhagen (UEFA)
Copenhagen 1-1 Brondy (Superliga)

Info provided by the UEFA site:
“København have played four games against sides from Spain in UEFA club competition, drawing two and losing the other two. They are thus looking for a first win against a Primera División side as Atlético come calling.”

That’s it for now– I have to write a paper before the end of the day. Bleah!

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Christian Abbiati, Leo Franco, UEFA | 18 Comments »

Jornada 14: Real Betis 0 Atlético de Madrid 2

Posted by atleti on December 2, 2007

Two goal-scorers, Raul & Forlán. Crucial win lifts Los Colchoneros to Champions.

Thoroughly deserved victory. It was a game that we dominated from start to finish, although the 2nd half was brutal. And by ‘brutal’ I mean downright ugly. In other words, we invited unnecessary pressure on ourselves. Nevertheless, we remained focused enough to secure the victory. Raul’s goal was icing on the cake.

STARTING 11: Leo Franco (Abbiati, 86´); Antonio López; Pablo; Eller; Pernía; Raúl García; Maniche; Maxi Rodríguez; Reyes (Simao, 62’); Agüero (Motta, 69’); Forlán

GOALS
33′ Forlán
92′ Raúl García

Real Betis are a limited, woeful team with very little quality & practically no creativity. There were only three maybe four occasions where I felt they had an opportunity to equalise. Those occasions aside, Betis did not look like they were going to get anything out of the game.

REVIEWS OF PLAYERS

Leo Franco had an incredibly good game, making a double save against Betis’ only real attack in the entire game. It’s unfortunate that he was subbed out with an injury. More on that if it is severe.

Pernía played surprisingly well as left-back, I thought. He made a few unnecessary mistakes, but overall, it was a decent display by the Argentine.

Pablo had a solid performance, although I thought that his yellow card could have easily been a red card had it been a harsher ref. Either way, this means he will serve a suspension for our next game, home to Getafe.

Eller. I’d never thought I’d say this, but the Brasilian actually had a good  game. It was far from sparkling, but it was efficient and not as sloppy as his previous performances.

Antonio López played as right-back and struggled in the 1st half– the Spaniard truly had a difficult time controlling play at that end- in fact, many of Betis’ runs came from the right. He redeemed himself in the 2nd half with an improved, composed performance. Far from perfect, but efficient, for the most part.

Maniche & Raúl García controlled that central midfield area. Class performances by both midfielders, particularly Raúl, our most consistent player. It was great to see him add another goal to his tally. Easily my favourite new signing.

Reyes. Hm. Leivinha wrote a little critique of him in the below entry. I found that the ex-Sevilla midfielder was very industrious in the first half & was unfortunate to be targetted by many of the Betis players. The Spanish commentator on GolTV rightly pointed out that there seems to be a rift between Reyes & Forlan as Reyes tends to waste great attacking opportunities by shooting at goal from long distances.  I can’t blame the Uruguayo if he is indeed frustrated with Reyes being wasteful.

I found that Reyes disappeared in the 2nd half & was deservedly subbed out. I agree with Leivinha in that he has a foul attitude when he is replaced. He had this sarcastic smirk on his face.

I would have preferred Simao to start than Reyes. Not only does he have great technical ability & vision, but the Portuguese midfielder is a ‘team player’.

Maxi had a fairly good game, although he disappeared for moments at a time. At the end of the day, his presence on the pitch adds a certain amount of balance into our game.

Forlán. As far as I’m concerned, he did his job– scored the opening goal with absolute class. Did anyone feel that he disappeared for long spells of the game? I honestly don’t mind, as long as he reappears for goal-scoring opportunities. Good game for the Uruguasho.

Kun- I cringed a bit when Aguirre subbed him out for Motta;  it seemed risky & far too defensive a change at that point. Remember what happened when we played against Murcia? Aguirre subbed out Kun for a defensive player when we were winning 0-1…it, unfortunately, ended as a draw.

I suppose the decision to sub him out wasn’t entirely bad: I continue to remind myself that Kun has been playing practically non-stop since the summer. He’s a professional, but still a young guy and that amount of playing does take its toll out on a player.

Motta was, again, quite impressive. It’s wonderful to have him back & fully fit. With Pablo out with suspension next week, he will surely receive more playing time.

Aguirre didn’t want to comment on Motta’s performance against Aberdeen, but he has broken the silence in his post-game interview tonight: he has praised Motta for adding much needed ‘security’ to the side.

Simao. He didn’t have much time to make his mark in the game, but whenever he is on the pitch, he always tries his best & is always a threat to the opposition.

All in all, I’m thrilled with the win and the fact that we are back in Champions contention. It is also great that the Barcelona derby ended as a draw; that Villarreal lost to Valladolid; and that woeful Valencia lost to Athletic Bilbao!

Next three games:
5-December: away to FC Copenhagen (UEFA)
9-December: home to Getafe (Liga)
12-December: away to Granada (Copa del Rey)

AUPA ATLETI

 

Posted in Antonio Lopez, Atletico Madrid, Diego Forlan, Fabiano Eller, Javier Aguirre, Jose Antonio Reyes, Leo Franco, Maniche, Mariano Pernia, Maxi Rodriguez, Pablo Ibanez, Raul Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa, Thiago Motta | 11 Comments »

Jornada 12: Almería 0 Atlético de Madrid 0

Posted by atleti on November 11, 2007

Leo Franco; Seitaridis (Eller, 46’), Perea, Pablo, Antonio López; Maniche, Cléber, Simão (Motta, 73’), Reyes (Luis García, 59’) Maxi; Kun Agüero

We had a glorious opportunity to return to a Champions League spot & failed miserably. Instead, we are #6 with only 1-2 points separating us from Racing Santander & Sevilla.

What else is there to say?

Seitaridis had a terrible first half, which included a sloppy tackle in the box. Fortunately, Leo Franco saved us from further misery. The Greek nearly made a mess of a short-range back pass to Leo Franco. His display was so poor that he was subbed out in the 45 minute.

Who replaced him you ask? Rubbish Eller. Another poor performance by the Brasilian– I was literally biting my fingernails every time he had the ball at his feet.

Perea, Pablo, & Antonio weren’t much better. Yes, we didn’t concede a single goal, but the truth is, we were fortunate that Almeria lacked finishing quality to make our visit even more miserable.

In terms of the midfield, I frequently found myself asking, throughout the game, “Where’s Maxi?” He appeared maybe a few times, but it was a very quiet performance for the Argentine. Simão had a rather quiet game as well. I wasn’t particularly impressed with Cleber— he continues to prove he’s a mediocre player (at best) with no real presence in the midfield. Luis had a surprisingly poor game, in terms of passing & overall impact. Reyes, who was fouled quite a bit, was involved in a couple good exchanges, but failed to capitalise on any of them.

In terms of Kun, without a true centre-forward like Forlan, he has a difficult time playing up front. There were a few times where he found himself in a good position, but had no one around him to pass the ball to. Again…”Where was Maxi (who was supposed to play as a support striker)?”

Not much to say about Motta since he came on in the 73 minute. He looked OK, for the most part, but still needs more time to return to good playing form. He hasn’t had much time to gel with the team since his arrival. I just hope he remains injury-free because we’re going to need him more than ever in our next game. 

Why you ask?

Perea & Seitaridis will be serving suspensions in our next game: home against on-the-up Valladolid. Surely this means Valera will receive a starting 11, to replace Seitaridis. In terms of centre-backs, Aguirre will probably pair up Ze CastroPablo. Raul might not be available, which means we might see Cleber or Motta in central midfield with Maniche. Forlan won’t be available. Perhaps Mista will return from injury, by then. Even so, he won’t be 100% match-fit.

Needless to say, I’m not looking forward to the next coming weeks.

These recent results don’t look good for Aguirre either. Will he be sacked? The jury is still out.

 

Posted in Antonio Lopez, Atletico Madrid, Cleber Santana, Diego Forlan, Fabiano Eller, Giorgios Seitaridis, Javier Aguirre, Jose Antonio Reyes, Juan Valera, Leo Franco, Luis Garcia, Luis Perea, Maniche, Maxi Rodriguez, Pablo Ibanez, Raul Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa, Thiago Motta | 8 Comments »

More Venting on the Defence

Posted by atleti on November 5, 2007

The day after Jornada 11 and I’m still a bit shell-shocked over the loss. In retrospect, the same result could have occurred to us against Sevilla. We were fortunate then to have the result go our way, considering we defended in the same suicidal manner.

Aguirre, Jurado, Pablo have all come out to express their opinions of the game and all of them basically echo the same thing: that we need to defend better. When asked about the defensive problems, Aguirre said, “We need to work on them. We go forward, which leaves us very open.” And, of course, he mentioned we lacked ‘balance’ and ‘organisation’ as we are now a very attack-minded team this season.

Meanwhile, midfielder Jurado said  that ‘defending is the job of everyone’, from the goalkeeper to the main striker. I don’t agree with this entirely. I believe the job, first and foremost, falls on the defenders (obviously!). When the defenders are confident and protecting the team in the back, our attacking players can move forward without worrying about rushing back to defend. As Aguirre mentioned, we need to achieve a balance.

At the same time, we simply do not have the quality in the back-line, so  changes ( at least two) MUST be made this January.

Let’s be honest: all of our defenders have had more bad days than good days.

Goalkeepers
Leo Franco (shaky, adds to our defensive worries; doesn’t instill any sense of confidence)
Abbiati (not good enough to play in Liga week in & week out)
Falcon (inexperienced keeper from the B team)

Centre-backs
Pablo
Perea
Ze Castro
Eller

All unreliable; I’d get rid of all of them. Realistically, that won’t (& can’t) happen. I still think we should offload at least two of them in January. Which you ask? Does it honestly matter? They’re all horrendous.

Right-backs
Seitaridis
Valera

I can’t put any fault on Valera– he hasn’t played at all (well, a little bit) since returning from injury. He still deserves an opportunity to prove his worth. Seitaridis– sometimes he’s fairly solid, other times I cringe when he’s in a one-on-one situation.

Left-backs
Pernia
Antonio Lopez

Dreadful. No further comments.

Shout-out: Armon (blog commentator) hit it on the head: our defence is sabotaging us. If we don’t secure a Champions League spot, we are at risk of losing our best players in the summer (Kun, in particular).

At the end of the day, we still have plenty of games up for grabs. It’s just frustrating because we SHOULD have won this game. Hell, I would’ve have been OK with a point. I would have been disappointed, but something is better than nothing.

OK, enough venting from me.

Monday Training Notes
Everyone except Raul (who fractured a bone in his nose) participated in today’s ‘relaxed’ training session. Of note, two of our Atleti B players participated with the top team: strikers Batres & Senel. Both Spaniards have been in good form with the B squad.

Motta & Mista worked with the physical therapist in the gym. Please, please, please, MOTTA come back from injury already! WE NEED YOU!

Posted in Antonio Lopez, Atletico Madrid, Giorgios Seitaridis, Javier Aguirre, Juan Valera, Jurado, Leo Franco, Luis Perea, Mariano Pernia, Pablo Ibanez, Raul Garcia, Thiago Motta, Ze Castro | 14 Comments »