Augusto Fernandez Jersey

Atletico Madrid entered the current season in an apparent state of flux. They moved out of their Vicente Calderon home and into the modern, yet comparatively soulless, Wanda Metropolitano.

By December they were unceremoniously eliminated from the Champions League group stages and by February, their squad had been reduced to 17 outfield players.

Spanish international duo Vitolo and Diego Costa – both following protracted and controversial transfers – arrived, but a series of players departed.

Augusto Fernandez, Yannick Carrasco and Nicolas Gaitan all left for China, whilst Miguel Angel Moya and Luciano Vietto were sanctioned moves to La Liga rivals.

By mid-March, they had lost just one league fixture and looked to be potential title challengers. This may not have materialised, but by finishing second they secured only their second-ever finish ahead of city rivals Real Madrid this century.

This promises to be a busy summer with initial focus on retaining star forward Antoine Griezmann, who has been strongly linked with a move to Barcelona.

It is expected they will make at least five additions to their first team squad, with Villarreal midfielder Rodri Hernandez set to be the first.
Rising Rodri

The 21-year-old spent six years at Atleti’s academy before joining the Yellow Submarine in 2013 and has gone on to make 80 appearances for the club.

The highly rated midfielder won his first senior international cap in March, appearing against Germany, after starring for his nation at youth level.
Sergio Busquets II

The deep-lying midfielder has made 41 starts this season and has excelled for Villarreal, whose fifth-placed finish ensured a return to European football next season.

A key part of this success was midfielder Rodri, and his style of play has drawn comparisons with Sergio Busquets of Barcelona. It is thought he will prove the long-term successor at international level, while at club level he is expected to be phased in for long-serving captain Gabi Fernandez.

Rodri acts as an effective shield for the defence, displaying excellent levels of concentration and positioning. Without any notable weaknesses, he likes to keep things simple in the middle of the pitch with accurate, reassuring passing.

For instance, Rodri had an 89% pass success rate, just short of Busquets’ 90%, and completed 1837 passes, 187 more than Barcelona’s number five.

He is a strong tackler and while he concedes plenty of free-kicks, these are usually tactical concessions. To support this, one needs only look at Rodri’s defensive stats. The Spaniard made 65 tackles and 71 interceptions in La Liga, highlighting his ability to break up play effectively.

Increasingly, he is displaying an attacking threat and even registered two assists in the final day draw against Real Madrid.
The first addition

Club president Fernando Roig, who has overseen the sale of several star players, has lamented Atletico’s approach for the midfielder:

Atletico are a club who say one thing then do another. We are not a club who will stand in the way of a player who has a desire to leave, and while we always want to keep our best players as long as possible, that is football. – Roig in MARCA.

It is thought the talented midfielder will join Diego Simeone’s side in a deal worth an initial €20m, with a further €5m of performance-related attainable bonuses included.

He looks set to be the first major addition of a potentially exciting summer for the newly-crowned Europa League winners.

Axel Werner Jersey

Yet another 1-0 win was added to Diego Simeone’s repertoire on Sunday afternoon thanks to Kevin Gameiro scoring from the penalty spot at the second time of asking.

Now safe from relegation, Alaves posed a competent threat to Atletico Madrid and denied them clear goalscoring chances until Diego Costa and Fernando Torres both came close late in the first half.

The game burst into life in the last half hour, Atleti hitting the post through Vitolo before Alaves had John Guidetti’s fierce strike draw a strong save from stand-in goalkeeper Axel Werner.

On 70 minutes, Mubarak Wakaso fouled Vitolo in the area to hand the capital club a great chance to take the lead, but Torres was denied by Fernando Pacheco.

However the Estadio Mendizorroza was left dumbfounded barely ten minutes later when Wakaso hurtled in to block a shot and blatantly handballed for a second penalty, this time rolled home by Kevin Gameiro.

Alfonso Pedraza came closest to an equaliser when firing across goal shortly after but Atleti held on despite Angel Correa’s second booking for dissent.

Diego Costa Jersey

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has confirmed that Diego Costa will start Sunday’s La Liga game at Alaves ahead of the Europa League semifinal second leg against Arsenal on Thursday.

Former Chelsea striker Costa, who is set for a first game since picking up a thigh injury on April 12, scored three times in six games against Arsenal during his time at Stamford Bridge, including the equaliser in last season’s FA Cup final which Arsenal went on to win 2-1.

“I spoke with Costa to see how he was,” Simeone said. “On Thursday I thought [Fernando] Torres was better up front. Tomorrow [Costa] starts the game, and we will see how he feels in the game.”

Simeone also apologised for his sending off against Arsenal. The Argentine was sent to the stands by referee Clement Turpin early in the first leg game at the Emirates, in which his side got a 1-1 draw despite playing 80 minutes with just 10 men.

He could now miss the final as part of a potential five game touchline suspension, should Atletico qualify. The 48-year-old also has a history of losing his temper on the sideline, on occasions as big as the 2014 Champions League final and that year’s Spanish Super Cup.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of Sunday’s trip to midtable Alaves he admitted he had no justification for the insults directed at Turpin on Thursday night.

“I feel bad about the sending off,” Simeone said. “I understand it can happen with how quickly things go on the pitch. I must improve in this respect. If you get sent off you cannot justify your behaviour.”

While Costa will return, some of Atletico’s key players are set to be rested for the trip to the Basque country, but goalkeeper Jan Oblak’s absence from the squad was for fitness reasons, Simeone said.

“We are looking to win the game, to finish as high up the table as possible,” Simeone said. “We will go with the kids who are feeling strongest. [Jose] Gimenez, [Antoine] Griezmann and Saul are not travelling, and neither is Oblak, who has a thigh problem. The rest are all going.”

Simeone has often been linked with other coaching jobs around Europe in recent years, most recently with the vacancy at Arsenal when Arsene Wenger leaves this summer, but he made his commitment to the Atletico cause clear when asked for his feelings about the club he represented twice as a player.

“I do not have space to express the feeling,” he said. “Words cannot express what you feel. When I was a player what I most liked was when I was abroad and people said: ‘There goes Simeone, from Atletico.’ I was not born into this club, but I give everything so that it keeps growing.”

Andre Moreira Jersey

O advogado André Moreira será o candidato do PSOL ao Governo do Estado nas eleições deste ano. Candidato à prefeitura de Vitória nas últimas eleições municipais, André teve o nome aprovado por correligionários do partido durante a reunião do diretório estadual da sigla, realizada no último final de semana.

Apesar de ser algo praticamente fechado, a decisão só será formalizada após a convenção estadual do partido, que ainda não teve a data agendada. Votado por 5668 eleitores na última eleição municipal, Moreira quer aumentar a representatividade do partido no Estado.

“Aumentar nossos votos é um dos objetivos, mas não é o único. O desempenho da Camila Valadão em 2016 [nas eleições municipais] e até a minha votação a prefeito mostra que a gente está crescendo. Mas, a nossa perspectiva numa eleição é discutir com as pessoas através da verdade, vamos falar que a saída desse governo, que está acabando com as finanças do Estado, não é fácil, mas é necessária”, apontou o pré-candidato, que se colocou como oposição ao atual governador.

Uma possível aliança com o PT também está descartada no momento: “Hoje tem possibilidade zero disso acontecer. O PT ainda não saiu, de fato, do governo Hartung, então não tem possibilidade”, concluiu.

Além de Moreira, o partido já definiu também em quais cargos se candidatarão outros nomes fortes do partido. Quinta mais votada para vereadora em Vitória, Camila Valadão, será candidata a deputada estadual e Lula Rocha a deputado federal.

Alessio Cerci Jersey

Alessio Cerci
Alessio Cerci

 

 

 

Alessio Cerci will play for the 10th club of his career next season after signing for newly promoted Hellas Verona.

The 29-year-old winger built a reputation as a youngster at Roma and, after spending time on loan with Brescia, Pisa and Atalanta, he joined Fiorentina before excelling during two years at Torino.

Then-Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid came calling in the summer of 2014 but Cerci failed to make an impact, returning to Serie A twice on loan, first with AC Milan and then Genoa.

The Italy international has signed for Verona after leaving Atletico, with the club who finished as Serie B runners-up announcing his arrival on their official website on Monday afternoon.

Verona are also reportedly close to capturing former Real Madrid and Inter Milan striker Antonio Cassano following his Sampdoria exit. If the move goes through he will be reunited with Giampaolo Pazzini, with whom he formed a lethal goalscoring partnership at Samp at the turn of the decade.