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 ‘UEFA’ Category

Goodbye, UEFA…

Posted by atleti on February 21, 2008

…goodbye Cerezo. Goodbye Aguirre. Goodbye Pitarch. Goodbye Reyes, Pablo, Pernía, Motta, Seitaridis, Maxi, Zé Castro, Mista, Perea, Valera Leo Franco. GOODBYE.

……………………………..

So, what’s left…?

Our Goals for 07/08 Season:
Win the League.
Win the Copa del Rey.
Win UEFA.

Secure a Champions spot.

Considering how things are going, I’d be surprised if we maintain a top 4 finish.

Posted in Atletico Madrid, UEFA | 17 Comments »

UEFA: Atlético de Madrid v Bolton Wanderers (0-1)

Posted by atleti on February 20, 2008

DO OR DIE…

I don’t have much to say about the game except the obvious: we must win it. 0-1 is a terrible first leg result, but it isn’t the end of the world. I have some hope that we’ll do enough to progress to the next round in UEFA.

STARTING 11: Abbiati; Antonio López; Pablo; Perea; Pernía; Luis García; Cléber; Jurado; Reyes; Maxi; Forlán.

SUBS: Falcón; Eller; Zé Castro; Dominguez; Álex Quillo; Miguel; Mista.

SUSPENDED: Raúl García & Agüero (Kun, for two games, which is ridiculous).

STILL INJURED: Motta, Leo Franco, Seitaridis, Valera & Simao.

Bolton’s squad list: Jaaskelainen, Hunt, A O’Brien, Cahill, Meite, Guthrie, J O’Brien, Giannakopoulos, Nolan, Campo, Taylor, Diouf, Davies, Samuel, McCann, Al Habsi, Alonso, Teymourian.

Aguirre on the game:
“We must remain calm with the referee, with the supporters, with our opponent…be cautious and intelligent. Tomorrow, we need to be patient and intelligent, and play good football […] We have 90 minutes to stay alive in Europe.”

Luis García on the game:
“We know what we are playing for against Bolton.  It could be one of the most important games of the whole season […] We will treat it like a real final and we are confident that we can succeed.”

PLEASE. JUST WIN.

I think I’ll go mad if we get knocked out of this competition by the likes of Bolton.

RUMOURS
A few items have been in the media: Salcido,PSV/Mexican defender, is ‘flattered’ with the interest of Atleti & Valencia. Then there’s a major rumour about us ‘monitoring’ Rafa Benitez‘ situation at Liverpool, perhaps as a possible replacement for Aguirre.

Anything missing?

Posted in Atletico Madrid, UEFA | 28 Comments »

UEFA: Bolton Wanderers v Atlético de Madrid

Posted by atleti on February 12, 2008

FINALLY!

Our Round of 32 game against the always long-ball obsessed, ugly, physical Bolton Wanderers is only 48 hours away.

STARTING 11: Abbiati; Antonio López; Pablo; Perea; Pernía; Cleber; Maxi; Mista; Simao; Reyes; Forlán.

SUBS: Falcón; Eller; Jurado; Miguel; Álex Quillo; Domínguez; Agüero.

SERVING SUSPENSIONS: Raúl García & Luis García.

STILL INJURED: Seitaridis, Valera, Leo Franco, Zé Castro, & Motta.

A few words from Pablo:
“In England they exude an atmosphere that smells of football. It’s always nice to play a match with those characteristics […] It’s a team that finished last season in fifth place. This season they’re not doing as well as they expected, but it will be a very even game. I hope that we come away with a positive result […] Bolton is a very good team physically. They score well off set pieces and surely we defenders will have lots of work.”

Some pertinent bits of info provided by UEFA’s official website:

  • The two sides have never met in UEFA club competition.
  • Atlético have considerable more experience against Premier League opponents, having played eleven games against English sides over the years, winning five, drawing four and losing two. Their five games on English soil ended in a win, three draws and a defeat.
  • Bolton have yet to lose a home game in European competition, although four of their seven UEFA club competition home matches have ended in draws.
  • Atlético are unbeaten in all four of their European away games this season, having won three and drawn one.

Here’s Bolton Group F standing:
Bayern
Braga
Bolton
Aris
Crvena Zvezda

1 win, 3 draws, & no losses.

In terms of the squad, Bolton no longer have star striker Anelka— he transferred to Chelsea in January. What’s more, they haven’t replaced his spot. So, who’s their highest goal-scorer then, you ask? Kevin Davies with a 5 league goals. Diouf, back from the African Cup, is their second highest goal-scorer with 3 league goals. Seriously, they’re rubbish up front.

While they lack effective strikers, they seem to be playing fairly well defensively in the Prem (well, at least recently):

BOLTON’S RECENT LEAGUE GAMES:
Bolton 0 Portsmouth 1
Reading 0 Bolton 2
Bolton 0 Fulham 0
Newcastle 0 Bolton 0
Bolton 1 Blackburn 2

Eh, 5 points out of a possible 15 against mid-table opposition. Our strikers are far more creative & effective than the crap teams they’ve played recently. Honestly, I can’t see their defence holding their ground against Kun & Forlán.

In terms of their midfield, ex-Madrid player Iván Campo & supporter favourite Kevin Nolan pose the biggest threat, I think.

Bolton boss Gary Megson:
“I do not think Atletico will play a defensive game as they don’t have those kind of players. They will play more on the counter attack.
“We do not want to get sucked into playing a style of football that is unusual for us […] When we have our strongest team we play in the right manner.”

Iván Campo had this to say:
“We’re not the favourites to win this round, but we do have our chances […]This is an English team in essence. We work all we can and we’ll try to make Atletico suffer. Even if they do well in Bolton, we won’t give up in Madrid. Bolton is an old-school English side, one that fights.”

According to Bolton’s officially website, nearly every area of the Reebock is sold out– so, at the very least their will be a great atmosphere– here’s hoping lots of Atleti supporters make the trip to England & cheer on the team.

In short, VAMOS ATLETI!

[Anything missing?]

Posted in Atletico Madrid, UEFA | 46 Comments »

UEFA: Atlético de Madrid draw Bolton Wanderers

Posted by atleti on December 22, 2007

Not bad at all!

We meet Gary Megson’s Bolton at the Reebok Stadium on Wednesday 13th or Thursday 14th February 2008, with the return leg at el Vicente Calderón the following week on the 21st.

Jesús García Pitarch’s thoughts on the draw:
They weren’t our preferred opponent and, as such, we do not like Bolton. But we’re not afraid of them, quite the opposite. As they are a Premier League club, I’m certain that the world will put much value [into our victory against them].”

“We are confident in the strength, the attitude, and the quality of our team.”

President Cerezo on the draw:
“Bolton is a tough opponent, at this stage there is no such thing as a small opponent. They play in the Premier League, but Atlético have enough quality to eliminate them. We are all confident in making it to the following round of UEFA.”

Gary Megson on the draw:There are no easy games at this stage in the competition. Atlético are going well at the moment– they’re third in La Liga & it’s certainly going to be a challenge, but one that I’m looking forward to and I know the players are too.”

Their most noteworthy player at the moment is main striker Nicolas Anelka. I say ‘at the moment’ because there is a little speculation that he’ll part ways with the club in January.

The club is also home to two Spaniards: Iván Campo, a main staple to their midfield, & on-loan midfielder Mikel Alonso, Xabi’s brother.

Bolton are most known for their ugly, long ball style of play. Hey, someone had to say it!

If we advance to the round of 16, we face Sporting Lisbon or FC Basel.

Be back with a mini-preview, once the squad list becomes available.

[NB: I’m away from my usual blogging location, but not cut off from the Internet.]

Posted in Atletico Madrid, UEFA | 1 Comment »

UEFA: Atlético de Madrid v Panathinaikos

Posted by atleti on December 19, 2007

Reminder: It’s tomorrow, Thursday. The final group stage fixture.

UEFA’s article on the game is informative, as always.

STARTING 11 (confirmed on the official website): Abbiati; Perea, Zé Castro, Eller, Antonio López; Raúl García, Cléber Santana, Luis García, Maxi; Forlán and Kun Agüero.

SUBS: Falcón; Pernía; Reyes; Miguel; Mista; Pablo; Simão.

Honestly, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t win Panathinaikos.

1- We’re playing at home.

2- Our starting lineup is strong.

3- Panathinaikos tend to struggle when they play away from home.

If this isn’t a recipe for a win, I don’t know what is! So, yes, I 100% expect Atleti to collect the 3 points. By doing so we’ll top the group & avoid a Champions League loser. A draw would only benefit the Greeks…

Aguirre on the game:
“I sense good things coming from my team. In the UEFA Cup and at home we’ve been a serious squad, we come out quickly for the matches… [Panathinaikos] are a great team, they have some forwards who control the ball well. They’re a squad that unfolds their play perfectly…It’s fundamental for us to finish as group leaders for the match-ups in the next round. We’re not scared of anybody, but it would be better if we could play an opponent of a lesser level…But I think that we’ll arrive at this match feeling fresh, and then we’ll see who plays against Espanyol.”

So, that’s that.

It won’t be on TV, unfortunately, so I’ll follow it via Internet, like a lot of other folks.

GROUP B (at the moment)
Panathinaikos 9
Atlético 7
København 3
Lokomotiv Moskva 2
Aberdeen 1

RUMOUR MILL
A Bola has suggested that Maniche might leave in January, as he is attracting strong interest in England & Italy. It also claims OPorto & Bayern Munich might be interested in his services. It’s a VERY vague rumour, but it’s worth noting since, at some point, we will be keen on bringing in a more creative midfielder.

Speaking of which, 2 more weeks until the transfer window opens. Aguirre & Co have mentioned times & time again that no new players will be brought in. So, I’m not expecting much. Perhaps they’re only considering loan or free transfers at this. We’ll have to wait & see.

Reminder: Maniche’s contract ends at the end of the season. According to reports, he might not want to leave in January as it might jeopardise his spot in the Portugal NT (EURO ’08).

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Rumours, UEFA | 20 Comments »

UEFA: FC Copenhagen 0 Atlético de Madrid 2

Posted by atleti on December 6, 2007

Atleti reach the final 32 of the UEFA CUP.

Abbiati; Antonio López; Pablo; Eller, Pernia; Simão (Maxi 67′); Motta; Cleber (Maniche 73′); Luis; Agüero; Forlán (Raúl García 72′).

UNUSED SUBS: Falcón; Reyes; Mista; Perea

The good news is that Perea, recovered from his injury, but still not quite ready to start, was able to sit this one out. I suspect he’ll be in the starting 11 against Granada for the Copa del Rey. Come to think of it, I suspect Mista will also start in that away leg to Granada.

GOALS
21′ Simão (assist by Agüero) CLICK HERE TO SEE IT.
62′ Agüero (assist by Motta) CLICK HERE TO SEE IT.

Both goals are brilliant. Simão is pure class– it continues to boggle my mind that cocky, immature Reyes has been chosen over him for Liga games recently. Here’s hoping that Simão returns to the starting 11 on a regular basis. He’s too good a player to be benched.

Other Points
I was able to watch the entire first half before I had to step out.

I have to say that despite the obvious shortcomings of certain players, overall, the defence has been looking fairly good. Yes, I never thought I’d say this, but they have improved quite a bit & should be commended for it. That said, here’s hoping that they continue on improving.

Motta has been effective since his return from injury; he controls & commands the midfield so well– in addition to creating opportunities for our strikers when given an opportunity. If he remains fit, he will be an immense part of our campaign. For all of you who have watched him in action recently, you know what I mean.

Simão on Motta’s presence on the pitch (after the game):
“All of the players are very important. In the case of Motta, he’s a player that gives us a lot of tranquility [‘peace of mind’] because he knows how to play the ball well.”

Yesterday, I was a bit apprehensive when I read that the Brasilian wasn’t able to finish the training session due to an aggravation in his knee. I was glad to see that he was fit enough to play a full 90.

Luis Garcia. Another player that I rate higher than Reyes. Luis had a very active 1st half– making a nuisance of himself, attacking, creating space. I thought, however, that he was a bit irregular (eg poor corners in the 1st half) and lacked that extra bit of polish. Lack of playing time can be attributed to that.

Forlán: always the silent work-horse. He can have moments where he disappears from sight– but I’m not bothered by that since he always reappears at opportune moments. If he’s not taking his own chances, he is creating chances for fellow players.

(If anything stuck out at you during the 2nd half, feel free to leave a comment.)

Aguirre after the game:
More than anything, I liked the three points. It is always difficult when they cram themselves inside the area, but it always seemed that we were comfortable. Despite the poor condition of the field, we never stopped playing our game.

So, after all is said and done, here’s how it all shapes up after this round:

Group B
Panathinaikos 9 (qualified)
Atlético 7 (qualified)
København 3
Lokomotiv Moskva 2 (disqualified)
Aberdeen 1

The good news is that we qualify to the next round of action. The bad news is that we have one more game to win in order to top that table. That’ll be at home to Panathinaikos. It’s a must-win game that’ll move us to the top of the table. Why is that important? It’ll mean playing a 3rd placed UEFA team instead of a Champions League reject. I’m confident that we’ll secure the points against the Greeks.

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Diego Forlan, Jose Antonio Reyes, Luis Garcia, Luis Perea, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa, Thiago Motta, UEFA | 5 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 »

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 »

UEFA: Locomotiv Moscow 3 Atlético de Madrid 3

Posted by atleti on October 25, 2007

Kun, Kun, Kun!

Brief wrap-up of the game since it was been discussed quite a bit in the previous entry (check comments). 

TACTICS: Christian Abbiati; Antonio López; Pablo Ibáñez; Eller; Pernía; Cléber (65′ Maxi); Raúl García; Jurado (75′ Maniche); Simão (69′ Luis García ); Forlán; Agüero

GOALS
16′ Agüero (assist by Jurado)
27′ Bilyaletdinov
47′ Forlan
61′ Odemwingie
64′ Odemwingie
85′ Agüero

CLICK HERE FOR VIDEOS OF GOALS!

It’s disappointing that our defence was atrocious and cost us the win, but the important thing is that we left Russia (never an easy place to play) with something– a crucial point. 

 Positive news: Our two strikers– Kun and Forlán— scored the goals, something we desperately lacked last season.

Other positives? Jurado had a very good 1st half, which included a shot at goal that hit the woodwork. In the 2nd half, he disappeared for moments at a time, so it was a good decision to sub him out and put Maniche in his place. Also: another solid display by Raul, truly one of my favourite players this season- always focused & composed.

I thought the substitutions (Maxi, Luis García and Maniche) were spot-on; note that Aguirre did not remove players that were doing well.  They reinforced our attack– to make sure we didn’t leave empty-handed. Our defending was atrocious, but since we had no defensive options on the bench (Seitaridis, Perea, Ze Castro, & Motta out injured and Valera unavailable), Aguirre had no choice but to leave the back four for the entire 90.

THE UGLY
As mentioned for the umpteenth time, horrific defending; soft goals conceded. I think I speak for all supporters when I say we need to desperately revamp the defence in January. Why on earth do we have Brasilian Eller occupying a crucial foreign player spot when he’s absolute rubbish? We need to offload him in January! He lacks pace & concentration. I saw most of the 1st half and was extremely disappointed with Pablo, Antonio, & Pernia (to a lesser extent, which says A LOT, as Armon points out in the entry below). Judging by descriptive accounts of the game on other blogs, it didn’t get better in the 2nd half.

I hate to end on a negative note, so I will say once again, all things considered, it’s not a bad result. Thank goodness that we have a great attack and equalised.  KUN KUN KUN!

AUPA ATLETI

Posted in Antonio Lopez, Atletico Madrid, Christian Abbiati, Cleber Santana, Diego Forlan, Fabiano Eller, Javier Aguirre, Jurado, Luis Garcia, Maxi Rodriguez, Pablo Ibanez, Raul Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa, UEFA | 9 Comments »