Our series of spotlight pieces on the top performing midfielders from the 2017/18 La Liga season sees us take an in depth look at Angel Correa – the second highest point scoring midfielder, whose exploits saw him hit 81 points as he excelled for los Rojiblancos.
Capable of playing on the right of the midfield or in a more advanced position, Correa has often drawn comparison to his countryman Carlos Tevez due to his bullish approach to the game that is accompanied with his good technical ability, low centre of gravity and excellent pace.
It is these attributes that have made him the perfect fit for the system operated by manager Diego Simeone, his commitment to teamship and working hard for the cause whilst out of possession meaning he fits not only the physical and technical profile necessary to succeed at Atletico Madrid but the psychological one as well.
Having been signed straight from Argentinian outfit San Lorenzo in 2014, Correa has grown increasingly important for the Atletico cause – the 23-year-old having been nurtured by Simeone to truly understand the core values that have brought the club success over the past few seasons.
His eight goals and four assists in 32 appearances over the season exemplifies his increasing importance to the team, with his output across 2017/18 blowing away his previous best goal scoring record of four goals in 2016/17.
His growing relationship with the front line of Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa – who notoriously returned from Chelsea in the January transfer window due to a spectacular falling out with Antonio Conte – became a key element of the club’s drive to a second placed finish. The side’s balanced style of play saw them to 79 points with 58 goals scored and only 22 goals conceded, the lowest in the division.
Though the excessive expenditure of Barcelona means that they will remain clear favourites when the 2018/19 season comes around, it is the likes of Correa that will prove critical to any chance that Atletico have of battling for the title. With a clearly defined system and clear team culture in place, Correa is, in many ways, the definitive example of the player profile that Diego Simeone believes can bring success to the club.
Following what has been an excellent season for the Argentine, he will undoubtedly be stung by the decision of Jorge Sampaoli to not take him to the World Cup. Don’t be surprised to see even greater fire and determination from him when the next season arrives, as he bids to prove to the world that his omission from the team was a mistake.
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