Atlético Madrid’s high stakes: Girona and Dortmund matches will be decisive – Into The Calderon

Atlético Madrid’s high stakes: Girona and Dortmund matches will be decisive – Into The Calderon

With nine games remaining this season (potentially 12 if they reach the Champions League final), Atlético Madrid face numerous challenges on and off the pitch. In La Liga, there are eight crucial matches remaining which will determine Atlético’s fate for next season. There are also contractual situations to resolve as the players and the club want to approach the summer relaxed.

Top-4 fight

Atlético Madrid are currently fighting for a place in the top 4 alongside Athletic Club, who are only 2 points behind. Failing to qualify for the Champions League would be a first under Diego Simeone since his first full season in 2012/13.. The red and whites face a busy schedule, including matches against Girona, Athletic (a team Atleti have not beaten in over a year) and Real Sociedad, who are also looking of a European place.

It’s a difficult race for the Colchoneros, made worse by an injury like that of Memphis Depay, a lack of goals for Álvaro Morata and the team’s defensive inconsistencies.

Additionally, the Spanish Super Cup currently seems out of reach. To have any chance of qualifying, Atlético must hope that Barcelona (currently second and nine points ahead) and Girona drop points by the end of the season, securing second place and a ticket to the competition .

Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

However, Atlético have historically managed to secure a Champions League spot in the face of adversity, a trend that has been clearly evident over the past three seasons. Notably, under Simeone, Atleti have never finished outside the top three, let alone the top four, in a full season. However, catching Girona in third seems difficult, as the Catalans are seven points ahead. A victory against them this weekend could reduce the gap to four points, giving the Madrid side a chance to keep this impressive streak alive.

Before worrying about a possible qualification for the Super Cup, Atlético must fight harder than ever to finish in the top four, because this is crucial not only for the prestige of the team but also for its economic stability. Qualification for the Champions League is essential to retain key players and facilitate new signings. Based on the 2021/22 La Liga results, the financial stakes are high: the team that finishes in first place earns €61.3 million, second place earns €54.1 million, third place 46.9 million euros, fourth place 39.7 million euros and fifth place. 32.4 million euros. Therefore, if Atleti finish fourth, the club would miss out on a potential windfall of €14.4 million.

Contractual situations

With less than two months until the end of the season, Atlético faces crucial decisions regarding players like Axel Witsel and Mario Hermoso, whose contracts expire this summer. Koke’s recent contract renewal allays a concern for the club. With the potential departure of Çağlar Söyüncü and Stefan Savić this summer, and with reports of César Azpilicueta being extended until 2025, Atleti in position to keep just one Hermoso or Witsel as they predict major frenzy in summer transfer marketaiming to recruit at least two defenders.

Villarreal CF vs. Atlético Madrid - LaLiga EA Sports

Photo by Manuel Queimadelos/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

It looks more and more like Witsel will stay, while Hermoso leaves. Although they have not yet received a renewal offer, Witsel and the club have both indicated their desire to continue their relationship. At 35, the Belgian has arguably been Atleti’s most reliable and consistent central defender this season, deserving of an extension. On the other hand, Hermoso has struggled with inconsistency (and injuries as of late) and he rejected a renewal offer due to his salary expectations.

Gabriel Paulista is another player expected to leave on a free transfer. After signing a six-month contract in January, recent reports suggest that Atlético have no plans to extend his contract, with other targets in mind for the reinforcement.


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