Atletico MadridAtletico Madrid were founded in the year 1903. They have had a fairly successful existence winning 27 competitions altogether. These competitions include the likes of ten Spanish cups, nine La Liga titles, two Europa League cups and one Champions League cup. They have also taken home two super cups, a club world championship and surprisingly…one Liga Adelante after being relegated in 1999 they won the competition two years later to secure promotion back to the top flight.
They have been on the up ever since they were promoted finishing mid table for the first few years back in La Liga before solidifying themselves as strong European qualification contenders. This coming season, they could actually be considered title contenders. Or better yet, favorites.
Finances and BudgetsAtletico Madrid aren’t as rich as you might first think. You will start off with a transfer budget of £4.2 Million and a wage budget of £52.95K. Enough to sign at least one average player but I would suggest going against the temptation of making any transfers as it could really help your finances grow. Unless of course you find that one gem that goes for 100K only to be sold for, £30 million 3 years later then by all means go ahead.
The club balance will start off as £22.12 million so the club is financially stable for the time being, however it could definitely be improved by winning competitions such as the La Liga and Champions league but let’s not jump the gun.
The first formation you should look to use is a simple 4-2-3-1. Have the two full backs as ‘’Complete wingbacks’ and use your one of your centre backs as a normal ‘Centre defender – Stopper’ and the other as either a ‘Centre defender – Cover’ or a plain old a ‘Centre defender – Defend’. Next, you have the midfielders. One of the two centre mids should be used as a ‘box-to-box midfielder’ (preferably Koke) and the other as a ‘Ball Winning Midfielder – Defend’
Your two wingers should each be ‘Winger – Attack’ or if you want to get the best out of Arda Turan’s ability use him on either wing as and ‘Advanced Playmaker – Attack’. Your Attacking midfielder will most likely be Raul Garcia so to keep the defensive responsibilities in the tactic you should look to be using him as an ‘Attacking Midfielder – Support’. No doubt your main striker will be Diego Costa so he should either be used as a ‘Trequartista’ or a ‘Complete forward – Attack’ You can use him in other roles such as ‘Poacher’ and ‘Advanced Forward’ but the first to roles will probably use more of his attributes to get a better impact of him. I suggest using a control philosophy with a fluid, fluidity.
The second formation should be a 4-1(DM)-2-2-1. Your four defenders should be used exactly the same as in the last formation with the two wingbacks as ‘Complete Wingbacks’ and one ‘Centre Defender – Stopper’. Use your Defensive midfielder in the ‘Anchor man’ role and once again a ‘Box-to-Box’ role in the centre of the park with a ‘Ball Winning Midfielder – Support’ partnering the ‘Box-to-Box’ midfielder.
Once again keep your wingers and Diego Costa in the exact same roles as the previous formation. This tactic should be played against the bigger sides like Real Madrid and Barcelona. You should have a counter attacking style of play with the same fluidity as before. The instructions ‘Run at Defence’ and ‘Play out of defence’ will be vital here as you will be looking to burst out of your own half once you have won back possession. If you’re a fan of the ‘Look for overlap’ instruction you should for this one time opt against it as this will only slow down your attack and decrease your chances of a goal as the opposing team track back.
‘Be disciplined’ and ‘Drill Crosses’ and ‘Play Wider’ are also three more instructions that could help you out in your mission that one vital goal that could win you a huge game!
PositionsGoalkeepers:- In the goalkeeping department we have the likes of Thibaut Courtois, Dani Aranzubia, and David Gill. Courtois is only on loan at Madrid however you MUST take advantage of him being there with you, because it is very unlikely your board will be willing to cough up 20M+ for him given your financial status. Unless of course you end up winning the La Liga. Aranzubia is the second best keeper and is 33 years old. Still a decent backup to have but will not improve at all. David Gill is only 19 years old however has next to no potential so I suggest just selling him on or not using him at all. Sergio Asenjo is also a good young keeper with potential although he is out on loan (Keep him when he’s back) and Roberto is also out on loan.
Right Back:- There is not a lot to choose from at right back. The only decent right back you start with is Juanfran, who should be a definite in your starting line up. Although he is getting on a bit, Juanfran still has a lot to offer, however if you are one to play young players with great potential, then you have the choice to start 19 year old Javi Manquillo. He hasn’t the best technical stats however the mental and physical attributes definitely do make up for that. This boy could become a great right back for Atletico Madrid. The only other right back in your squad is Silvio. Who would make some very good back up for your first team but unfortunately is loaned out to Benfica.
Left back:- On the opposite side of the field we have two brilliant left backs. two players that will both be fighting for a place in the starting line up. Emiliano Insua and Filipe. Filipe will probably be your first choice and is your more experienced player of the two, however he is 27 and at his peak so maybe selling him on to raise some funds would be a good idea? Insua is also a very decent choice and can certainly put in a solid performance when called upon, so keep an eye out for him because he is a brilliant full back.
Centre back:- In the centre of defence we have probably one of the strongest areas in the Atletico squad. We have two experienced and solid defenders in the form of Diego Godin (Your potential Captain) and Miranda. These two could be your first choice pairing however they will face very strong competition from new signing Toby Alderwiereld who is a young and talented player that could potentially become one of the best centre half’s Atletico Madrid have ever had at the club. Once again we have the younger option in Jose Gimenez who is 18 and already quite solid. All he needs now is a bit of training In tackling and marking, maybe even strength and a few games under his belt. Having someone like Godin or Miranda tutor him wouldn’t do any harm either.
Defensive Midfield:- This department in the squad is definitely the weakest. The only player you have here is Mario Suarez who is a solid player to have, who can stop the majority of the oppositions attacks. Joshua Guilavogui who is another younger option with a lot of potential. Although he is also another who has left the club on loan. He will play for Saint Etienne this year and hopefully he’ll have a lot of experience when he is back.
Centre Midfield:- Here we have the most in depth part of the squad, With seven players! However…We have more loanees to deal with. Four of the seven central midfielders are out on loan, these consist of, Ruben Perez, Julio Alves, and Sergio Cidoncha who all have next to no decent ability and could be considered not good enough for Atletico. But the fourth player out on loan is your most talented and greatest youngster. Oliver Torres. This lad has bags of potential and is already technically strong, he could be a great addition to your team in the first season and even for years to come. Unfortunately he cannot be recalled which leaves you with three centre mids who are, Gabi, Thiago and Koke. Gabi and Thiago are to great players however they are starting to age a little. Koke is another centre mid that could be an Atletico great like Oliver, but what’s good is that he’s already experienced and a player who should be one of the first names on the team sheet.
Right Wing:- On the right wing we have next to no one. Jose Sosa is our only player and is on loan from Metalist. He isn’t the greatest winger but he’ll do the job. You might want to look into getting a young right winger.
Left Winger:- The left side is exactly the same. We only have one good player who is the ageing Cristian Rodriguez. Although, this guy is not on loan he is still not your greatest winger. Just like Filipe, I would sell him for as much as possible while he is at his peak and bring one or two cheap and talented youngsters.
Attacking Midfield:- Finally. A bit of depth. Arda Turan and Diego are both amazing players and should both be considered for your starting XI. Raul Garcia however is a decent player but is another player who is at his peak and can be sold for about 5 million. Looking for a young, cheap talented player is again a good option. I recommend someone like Humam Tariq for 600K or Guido Vadala from Boca who can be signed on a free.
Strikers:- We have three class strikers here. The first two are Adrian and David Villa. Two great players who can score from almost any situation.
Talking about scoring from any situation…Diego Costa. This boy can literally score from wherever he gets the ball. In the air, in the box, on the wing…You name it he can score from there. He is without doubt one of the best strikers in the league and you want to be sealing him down on new contract WITHOUT the 32M release clause.
Potential WeaknessThe only weakness’ you have in your side are on the wings. You only have Rodriguez and Sosa on loan so what you should look to be doing is selling the likes of; Rodriguez and Garcia which would earn you up to about 10M, and then sign someone like; Rodrigo Gomez, Vitinho, or someone more experienced like Nicholas Gaitan. From Benfica.
Of course your defensive midfield isn’t very good and as almost no depth so maybe with the 10M you get from those two sales you could buy someone solid like Fernando from Porto.
Selling your left back Filipe could net you up to another 10M so that’d be about 24M in the bank from 3 sales. A good choice of left back would be Dodo from Roma or Ricardo Rodriguez from Wolfsburg.
If you really couldn’t help yourself…You could probably sell David Villa for 6M at the age of 31, which to me is a great deal considering in 1-2 years time you won’t be able to get rid of him as he is too old. With this money, you could get a youngster such as Gabriel Barbosa (Very good player from my own experience) Or Volland who does go for about 12M (Which is his release clause).
Youth AcademyThe youth academy is brilliant, and probably couldn’t dream about being compared to the likes of Barcelona’s and Real Madrid’s. But, unlike most teams in the league it is still pretty good and actually isn’t far off being one of the best. Just a few more upgrades to your facilities would make them ‘Top facilities’ but this would take a lot of money, and also you must remember having top facilities does not guarantee top youth players. Things like coaches, junior facilities and even reputation all comes into it. So my advice would be to wait until you have built a club with a good enough rep to compete with Barcelona and Madrid. Otherwise you’ll spend all your money on these brilliant facilities and they won’t be used by brilliant players for about 3-4 years. What you should do is when you get your intake, quickly look at the intakes of those great teams in the league and try either signing the good youngsters on a free before their trialist clubs do or just signing them for as cheap as possible. It’s a good trick to have when your academy isn’t the greatest.
SummaryTo conclude, it is clear that Atletico have a brilliant squad but there is no doubt some areas could be improved upon. The finances aren’t the best so you should try your best to spend WISELY and gain money through the sales of players. It will probably take a while to reach the heights of Barcelona and Real, but it is possible…only very hard, you just have to keep at it!
Thank you for reading guys and good luck to those who try this guide out. I hope this helps and I appreciate any feedback good or bad!