With Luis Suárez’s arrival final September, Atlético Madrid landed a key improve from Álvaro Morata — and a participant who was instrumental within the group’s title triumph. Suárez’s many game-winning targets stole headlines (and took up many column inches on our web site), and had been a continuing alongside a ahead line that noticed upheaval and inconsistency through the season.
Right here’s how Diego Simeone’s forwards did in 2020/21.
Sergio Camello/Ivan Šaponjić The 20-year-old Camello was across the first group as soon as extra this season and performed half an hour between the Copa del Rey and the Champions League. Šaponjić performed the second half of the season on mortgage at Cádiz and almost scored towards Atlético throughout a six-goal thriller on the finish of January. N/A
Diego Costa One of many worst transfers in membership historical past, he noticed his Atlético profession finish with a whimper — only a couple minutes towards Actual Sociedad on Dec. 23 adopted by an unconditional launch on Dec. 29.
Simeone maintained religion in Costa for much longer than he may have (or ought to have), however there was simply no strategy to overcome the accidents and the well being considerations that outlined the €66 million ahead’s second stint with Atlético. Costa performed solely seven video games, all in LaLiga, and scored two targets — his remaining aim, a penalty towards Elche, got here after he recovered from a deep vein thrombosis in his leg.
Costa scored 12 targets from 61 league appearances after rejoining Atleti. He was an costly catastrophe, however he’s possible to obtain a winner’s medal after this season and retain love from the followers — 4.5.
Moussa Dembélé Costa’s substitute — a lanky, cell goal man who can win headers and stretch the sphere. After all, we didn’t see Dembélé a lot after he arrived on mortgage from Lyon in January — he arrived with a damaged arm and contracted COVID-19 in February (to not point out he was up towards it with Suárez as his fundamental competitors for minutes). The 24-year-old accrued lower than 100 minutes in LaLiga, and by no means performed greater than the 37 minutes he acquired in a determined scenario in London towards Chelsea.
What we did see was a great, hard-working teammate and a better guy. His well-timed leap out of the best way allowed Suárez to attain the successful aim towards Osasuna on Could 16 — a aim that put Atlético inside touching distance of the title. Some experiences have stated that Atleti will search for a strategy to maintain Dembélé for an additional season, although an settlement with Lyon could possibly be powerful to strike — 5.
João Félix Started the season on a tear, notching a aim and an help on the primary day earlier than scoring a brace every towards Crimson Bull Salzburg, Osasuna, and Cádiz. The 21-year-old was LaLiga’s participant of the month for November and was heading in the right direction for a scintillating sophomore season in Spain, however…
A number of ankle accidents — alongside symptomatic COVID — slowed Félix down once more, and his remaining aim this season got here on Feb. 28. He appeared extra instead than as a starter in LaLiga, which isn’t one thing you need to examine a €126 million signing. As well as, the participant’s work fee and slot in a Simeone-coached group had been known as into query on a number of events.
Nevertheless, although he didn’t produce “famous person numbers,” Félix improved noticeably in 2020/21. He made 12 aim contributions in LaLiga (seven scored/5 assisted) as extra touches within the middle-third and the attacking third allowed him to affect proceedings extra positively. He grew to become a extra progressive ball-carrier and almost tripled his goal-creating actions per 90 minutes (0.21 in 2019/20, 0.57 in 2020/21).
Félix might be with Portugal at EURO 2020 beginning this weekend, nevertheless it’s unsure what number of minutes he’ll get with the present holders. Atlético might be watching intently to see how his ankle responds earlier than he returns for his third season, which may make or break his rojiblanco profession — 6.5.
Angel Correa Like life itself, it’s humorous how sporting transactions work out typically. Correa almost secured a switch to Milan two years in the past — however after getting one other likelihood to slip in as Antoine Griezmann’s substitute at second striker, he’s a league champion with Atlético. The man has extra lives than a cat.
Correa performed each sport in and LaLiga and the Champions League for Atlético this season and made a career-high 29 begins. It was clear by springtime that he had crushed out Félix for beginning second striker duties, and the 26-year-old overcame a string of unhealthy misses to place collectively his greatest season.
Lastly enjoying persistently in his most well-liked place, Correa scored 9 targets and added eight assists in LaLiga. He additionally handed the 200-appearance plateau in Could, and he scored an outrageous toe-poke equalizer towards Valladolid on the ultimate day. Simeone’s endurance with Correa and the participant’s small-but-steady improvement has seen him change into a top-drawer defensive ahead and a core colchonero — 7.25.
Luis Suárez The place to start?
Suárez’s 21 targets (11 game-winners!) will come to thoughts instantly when this group is talked about sooner or later. Although Jan Oblak pulled a number of rabbits out of a number of hats on the different finish of the pitch, El Pistolero will most likely be remembered because the face of this Atlético facet.
The 34-year-old’s stunning transfer from Barcelona didn’t precisely obtain common acclaim — “too outdated,” “too gradual,” “too fats” had been frequent refrains — however Simeone knew precisely how you can weaponize Suárez’s still-predatory ending and simmering rage at Barça. He scored 16 occasions in his first 17 league appearances for Atlético because the group rang up 50 factors from 19 video games to start the season.
Suárez slowed down within the spring, and there have been occasions all through the season the place he wasn’t shifting effectively in any respect. However two extra dramatic winners towards Osasuna and Valladolid took him over the 20-goal mark and secured his place as an Atlético icon. He’ll again subsequent season to finish his two-year contract, with contemporary motivation to defend the crown — 8.