Champions League Filipe Luis and Godin set to leave
The finals lost in Lisbon and Milan, and even the draws to Qarabag that secured their exit from last season’s Champions League, did not have the same impact that Tuesday night’s defeat to Juventus will have for Atletico Madrid.
For some of the squad, this was their last chance at a run in Europe with Los Rojiblancos.
The most notable loss will be Diego Godin, Atletico‘s captain and the heartbeat of their incredible rise under Diego Simeone. After coming so close to glory in Lisbon and Milan, as well as playing 52 games in the Champions League with Los Colchoneros, the Uruguayan will go down in the club’s history, though he – and his teammates – did not want it to end like this.
His service to the club has been remarkable, scoring the goal in Lisbon that so nearly brought Atletico their first Champions League title, and the only chance Godin will now have at lifting silverware in his final season is if they are able to usurp Barcelona in LaLiga Santander.
Another big loss, at least in terms of their commitment to the club, will be Filipe Luis. He was injured and therefore missed the second leg against Juventus, but the Brazilian was phenomenal in the first match as Atletico reeled back the years with a vintage performance before collapsing on Tuesday. The left-back’s contract comes to an end in the summer and everything is pointing towards his spell coming to an end. Given the poor performances of Santiago Arias and Juanfran in Turin, with the latter shifting to left-back to compensate the loss of Filipe, it is a sad way for the 33-year-old to end his time at both the Estadio Vicente Calderon and the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano.
Amongst the doubts are Juanfran and Diego Costa. Regarding the first, it seems as though he will have one more opportunity to try and lift the trophy that has eluded both him and Atletico: the Champions League. He has lost his prominence in the line-up as Simeone has often preferred to play Arias, while the 34-year-old was one of those who really suffered in the second leg against Juventus.
Diego Costa missed the second leg after picking up a yellow card in the match at the Wanda and his future is uncertain. There are many rumours linking the striker with a move to China, but we must wait to see whether this is concrete or not. The arrival of Alvaro Morata has only put Costa‘s position under more threat.
The only footballer who started with Simeone and will be a fulcrum of the side next year will be Koke. The academy product has no intention of leaving Atletico and should have many more opportunities to try and win the Champions League with the club he loves.
Leaving the veteran players aside, it is worth highlighting just how little some of the new signings have contributed in big games, such as Thomas Lemar and Arias. Both, in theory, make the side more talented but they have been unable to compete in the same way as their teammates. The two were on the pitch at the Juventus Stadium and were very underwhelming before being replaced.
The dream of lifting the Champions League at the Wanda may have vanished, but now there is a lot of work to be done in the offices at Atletico. It is time to think about the future and to assemble a squad that can frighten the rest of Europe.