Home Sport Champions: Simeone’s red numbers | Champions League 2021

Champions: Simeone’s red numbers | Champions League 2021

 Champions: Simeone's red numbers |  Champions League 2021

Following the memorable victory at Anfield in 2020, Atlético have conceded seven defeats and only three victories in 14 games. Failure to reach the eighth would deprive him of 9.6 million.

Simeone, during the match against Milan at the Metropolitano.REUTERS

It must have been around two in the morning on Thursday when the last Metropolitan employee walked out the door. At that time a stadium was closed that could not reopen in the Champions League until September 2022. These are the consequences of which, in the absence of that final in Porto, it is the worst group stage of the nine consecutive that Atlético have played since Diego Pablo Simeone took a seat on the bench. In less than a month it will be a decade of that. However, the Champions League, that so often open wound on the Argentine coach’s skin, threatens to cloud the anniversary. “I am more optimistic than ever because we are still alive”, was his last word and the mantra that two weeks from now (December 7), when the team visits Do Dragao, will surround every corner of the stadium and Cerro del Espino de Majadahonda, where the team trains.

The reality is that Atlético has gotten into a good mess. And he has done it by piling up, one after another, a handful of negative records.

Never before had he come across only four points at this point. A draw against Porto and that agonizing comeback at the San Siro were the anticipation of three slaps in a row. In 2017, during the famous Champions of the Qarabag and the decline to the Europa League, the rojiblancos added five points. A year earlier, in 2016, after five victories in five games (15), one of them against Bayern Ancelotti, they had already secured the lead. In euros, the matter translates into only 3.7 million out of 14 possible, like those that, for example, Liverpool has pocketed.

Never before had he seen himself with seven goals against after five rounds. What’s more, on the way to the Lisbon final, in that first adventure in the Simeone Champions League (2013/14), they received six in 12 games. And seven fit into the journey to the final in Milan, in 2016.

He had never lost two games before at the Metropolitano. In fact, the only defeat in Europe took place on the day of its premiere, against Chelsea (1-2). Until the desecration of Liverpool and Milan, nobody (not even Bayern) had been able to get out of the rojiblanco enclosure with flying colors. Obviously, Atlético had not lost three times in the same phase either.

Only four goals

And only once, in that 2017 that did not end well, did he add as few targets as he has now. Four claws (three from Griezmann) squeezed to the last drop to reach the final in Porto with options. Only six of the 26 teams have been less successful. In his 11 European games with Atlético, Luis Suárez, the team’s top scorer, has only scored one goal. Penalty, in Milan.

But the hesitations in the Champions are not new. The affair comes from afar. Paradoxically, of that magical March 11, 2020. That night at Anfield, the one with the explosion of Marcos Llorente placeholder image and the officialization of the pandemic, Atlético’s life in Europe became uncomfortable. It is not an opinion. The numbers sing. If the growth in the League after the stoppage due to the virus is undeniable, so is the decline in continental competition. With Wednesday’s against Milan, he accumulates seven defeats, four draws and only three victories (two against Salzburg and one, over the horn, at San Siro) in the 14 games after the Liverpool miracle. An upsetting journey where defense is no longer a virtue and the punch is still under suspicion: 20 goals against and 12 in favor.

Marcos Llorente.REUTERS

For comparison, in the 14 episodes prior to that indelible assault on the European champion’s garden, the rojiblancos added eight victories (against Juventus, Liverpool or Borussia Dortmund), two draws and four defeats. In this journey they achieved 18 goals and conceded 13. From that balance of +5 to this, blushing, of -8. Looking back, those 26 goals for and 10 against (four in the Lisbon final) in the 13 games of Cholo’s first season in the Champions League (13/14) seem from another galaxy. It is quite an enigma what happened after Anfield, in that parenthesis by the coronavirus, since the workforce has hardly changed substantially for the worse (on the contrary) in the 20 months since then.

And although in the offices of the Metropolitan they have insisted since 2013 that the important thing is to qualify each year for the Champions League, so that the numbers fit, not being in the round of 16 would be a pinch for the pocket. Are 9.6 million who would remain on the way, apart from the fact that the market pool it would go down due to the least number of games played.

The point is that, For the third consecutive season, Atlético will play their skin in the last chapter. He will have to win in Porto. But, in addition, if Milan defeat Liverpool, they will have to do it by a little more than the Italians. And that, seeing the red and white sweats in this sinking Champions League, does not seem like an easy task.

Reference from elmundo