Atletico Madrid might have a hard time keeping Mario Hermoso at Wanda Metropolitano beyond the ongoing season as Mundo Deportivo has claimed that the 26-year-old is being considered by Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League.
Hermoso’s situation at Atletico has been quite tricky. Despite being available for selection, the Madrid-born defender has made it to the starting XI in just one of his side’s last eight encounters.
It’s pretty much evident that Diego Simeone prefers playing an ageing Felipe, and in all fairness, the manager has his fair share of reasons. He slotted Hermoso into the back-three in a 0-0 draw against Granada, but that was only because Felipe was unavailable for selection.
Come Saturday, when the team face Athletic Club away from home, Hermoso is expected to get another start since Jose Gimenez is out injured.
Hermoso’s situation represents a rather despondent turn of events. While his versatility also allows him to play as a left-back, the growing stature of Reinildo has forced the 26-year-old to spend most of his time on the bench instead.
It’s not that things have been the same since the beginning. In fact, Hermoso started most of the matches in the first half of the season, but the numbers started to decline since matchday 23, against Barcelona. Between February 2 to April 20, the defender has started just two matches for the team.
Between the Barcelona game in February and the recent 0-0 draw against Granada, Hermoso has clocked a mere 39 minutes in three matches.
That lack of playing minutes, however, hasn’t deterred his ambition to play for Atletico. The player is, in fact, working tirelessly to get his position back, but all that can change if Tottenham come up with a strong offer in the summer.
Hermoso, who has a contract until 2024, is personally very happy at Atletico, but the fact remains his situation lures Tottenham to make an offer as they seek to acquire a left-footed defender in the summer.
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.