The perks of being a top-level footballer are plenty, ranging from high dollar payslips to worldwide name and fame. However, all that often means little if not accompanied by the elementary joy of playing the game day in and day out.
That is the situation Angel Correa finds himself in at Atletico Madrid. Since his arrival in 2015, the Argentine forward has made over 300 appearances for Los Rojiblancos. However, he only played 1872 minutes in the league this season, a steep fall from his 2400 minutes last season.
According to reports from MARCA, the 27-year-old has opened the door to a possible departure in the coming summer as he desires a higher ranking role. However, Atletico Madrid’s steep demands make such an operation difficult to execute.
The news is surprising, for the player recently penned an extension with the club. It was only in January that Corra committed another 4.5 years at the Wanda Metropolitano.
In 36 appearances for the Madrid based side in the league this season, the Argentine scored 12 goals and provided five assists. He averaged 0.7 key passes per game and created 6 big chances.
In fact, it was Correa’s goal that gave Diego Simeone’s side the win against Real Sociedad on the final matchday.
Back in January, several Premier League clubs were said to be interested in signing Correa. However, the player snubbed the offers and opted to continue in Spain.
Now, it remains to be seen if the same clubs continue to pursue his signature given his intention to change scenery.
With Luis Suarez’s departure from the club already confirmed, Correa’s transfer could leave Simeone’s side understaffed in the forward department. That said, the club’s reluctance to sell the Argentine is understandable.
Atletico Madrid midfielder on the derby against Real Madrid: “Very difficult to beat them”
Following a 1-1 draw in their Champions League opener against Lazio, Atletico Madrid will shift all their attention to La Liga, as they brace themselves for the derby against Real Madrid this weekend.
Heading into this game, Atleti midfielder Marcos Llorente spoke about Real Madrid’s quality and Atletico Madrid’s chances of squeezing all three points from this iconic derby.
Llorente on Madrid derby
“The sensations are good. The team is very good, the other day we played a great game despite ending up drawing. I really think that the team did a great job that must be maintained for this match,” Llorente said in an interview with Diario AS.
When asked whether or not Real Madrid being tagged as favourites could aid Atleti, the midfielder said, “Honestly, it neither motivates me nor demotivates me. We simply have to do what we work on during the week, what the coach asks of us.”
Llorente stressed the importance of the game, adding, “It is a great rival we have in front of us, they are having a very good start to the season and that motivates me and everyone to try to play a good game.”
“Real Madrid is a great club, they have great players and it is very difficult to beat them. I think we have competed, we have also achieved several draws, but in the end, either you go out one hundred percent and do things very, very well or it is difficult to beat them,” he added.
A former member of the Real Madrid youth academy, Llorente joined Atletico Madrid in 2019. Since then, he has racked up over 150 competitive appearances for Los Colchoneros.
Llorente, though, said he feels no sense of vindication when he performs well against his former team.
“No. In the end, it’s been many years since I left there and I’m at Atlético. Perhaps in the first years, those types of feelings and sensations can arise, but today they no longer do,” he said.
Llorente on Vinicius, Koke & Bellingham
The Atletico Madrid star went on to talk about other aspects of the game, including the fact that his team had one less player every time they faced Real Madrid last season.
“I have zero worries. These are things that are not in our remit, that escape our hands. We play football, the referees referee and those who have to decide decide,” he said.
Llorente, in fact, said that the return of Koke could be a real boost for Atleti. “It is always good that Koke is with us, both on the field and in the day-to-day life of the game,” he said.
“Beyond the grass. The support he gives, the advice he gives us, his experience. it is always important to have him and it is great news that he is already training with us,” he added.
Talking about the absence of Vinicius Junior and the form of Jude Bellingham, Llorente said, “Well, you have to be careful with everyone. All Real Madrid players are very good and can make a difference at any moment of the game. Bellingham is having a great start and we have to take that into account and be very focused.”
Finally, Marcos Llorente put out a message for all the Atletico Madrid fans, claiming their support ahead of this crucial encounter this weekend.
“It will be a full house as always. We don’t have to tell them anything, they know the importance of this match for Atlético, we know that they never fail, they are always supporting us and we count on them,” he said.