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Simeone talks Joao Felix, Ernesto Valverde, lack of goals ahead of Athletic Club vs Atletico



Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

Atletico Madrid will be aiming to bounce back to winning ways when they lock horns with Athletic Club at San Mames on Saturday night in La Liga.

Los Rojiblancos were held to a goalless draw by Belgian side Club Brugge in the UEFA Champions League earlier this week. And Diego Simeone and his charges are under pressure to correct course at the earliest possible, given that they are already six points behind leaders Barcelona in La Liga.

On the eve of the game, Simeone spoke to the media and naturally, the subject of Joao Felix dominated the press conference after his antics in midweek and speculations surrounding his future.

On Joao Felix’s lack of game-time: “I am going to be very clear, just as I have spoken with him. I want to win, with Morata, with Correa…the only reality is what it is. In the season that we won La Liga, he had an incredible start and then he got injured. 

“In the second season, he started playing in Osasuna and ended up playing until he got injured. At the beginning of this new season he had a very good preseason, he started very well. 

“When his performance has dropped now, another teammate plays, because João is the same as everyone and I treat everyone the same way. When he’s back to being good, when he’s back running when the team needs him, he’s going to play. 

“This is about performance, and in performance, I understand that there are other players who are doing better.”

On Felix’s gestures in training on Thursday: “It’s normal that yesterday’s gesture that came out on social media was because he was playing with De Paul.”

“Now he has the focus on him and anything he can generate. You, who are with the magnifying glass, give your opinion as you believe. I say everything I have to say to the players in the locker room, not here.”

On the unity in the dressing room: “The team is very good and there is only one reality, which is the playing field, and on the playing field there is a coach who chooses based on needs and chooses what he thinks is best for each match. I’m not going to remove João to lose.”

On Joao’s attitude and talks with him: “I love it because they find the spotlight. He is a fantastic boy, he gets along with his teammates… we are talking about game performance, nothing more.”

On the Portuguese’s performances: “I’m having a hard time getting the best out of João. I have to get the most out of those who are.”

On the lack of goals: “I think the good thing is to have scoring situations. The more you have means that the team is after winning the game. The only way I know to reach the goal is to keep insisting.”

On Athletic Club and Ernesto Valverde: “I love how they are playing. Valverde has found that line of play, approaching how he made Barcelona play. I like how they play, how they press, how they work as a block, so we expect a difficult opponent.”

On the lack of a well-defined starting XI: “When another coach changes it seems that he rotates, but in my case, it seems I am criticised. I do it always looking for the best for the team.”

Source: Atletico Madrid YouTube

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Atletico Madrid News

Atletico Madrid ‘want to fight’ for the signing of €40m Barcelona midfield target



Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Atletico Madrid are interested in Fiorentina midfielder Sofyan Amrabat and want to fight for his signing in the summer, according to a report from Javi Gomara of Mundo Deportivo. The 26-year-old is also a transfer target for FC Barcelona and several clubs in the Premier League.

Amrabat burst into the limelight after enjoying a stunning run at the FIFA World Cup 2022, during which he helped Morocco reach the semi-finals. The midfielder was heavily linked with an exit in January, with Barcelona, Atletico and several other clubs linked.

However, a move did not materialise and he remained at Fiorentina. However, with his contract expiring next year, the Moroccan international could be on his way out in the summer, even though the Italian outfit are trying to tie him down with a new contract.

And, as per the report, Atletico Madrid are ready to fight for his signing in the summer. The report states that Amrabat is a player that is very well-liked by the Rojiblancos and would be an important cog in Diego Simeone’s side if they sign him.

Amrabat will be playing at the Civitas Metropolitano tonight, with Atletico’s home ground hosting a friendly between Morocco and Peru. And the Colchoneros dream of making the stadium the 26-year-old’s permanent home from next season.

The report adds that the Moroccan international himself would be ‘delighted’ to join the club. After all, he did speak highly of Simeone and Atleti during the World Cup, when he said:

“He has coached Atletico Madrid for many years. I like his style of play. He has won a lot and I have a lot of respect for him. The players in his team are physically strong and aggressive. I like to play that way.”

Atletico Madrid have been linked with Real Madrid’s Dani Ceballos, but hold no interest in him. Instead, they wish to sign a player of Amrabat’s profile and quality. However, the 26-year-old will not come cheap as Fiorentina will demand a €40 million fee for him.

Beyond that, the interest of Barcelona and other clubs in the Premier League would also be a roadblock for the Spanish capital club.

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