Atletico Madrid have turned their season around somewhat since the resumption of the Liga season, with a strong run of form carrying them up to third place in the table. While the capital club not so long ago looked set to miss out on a place in the top four and Champions League qualification, they are now within touching distance of pulling up a seat at European club football’s top table again.
Of course, Atleti wanted much more than just a top four place this season. The original aim was to challenge Barcelona and Real Madrid for the title. Both sides are going through generational transitions and so many saw the door to be open for Atletico Madrid. They too have gone through a transitional season, though.
The conversion of Marcos Llorente into an attacker over the last few weeks has been a revelation. The former Real Madrid man has been exceptionally influential higher up the pitch, hitting a rich vein of form that started with his brace in Atletico Madrid’s Champions League win over Liverpool at Anfield before the coronavirus shutdown struck.
Alongside Llorente, Diego Simeone has largely favoured Diego Costa. The former Chelsea striker looks to have found fitness and form again since the restart, with Simeone using Costa as a battering ram to use next to the more creative Llorente. So what place does Alvaro Morata now have at the Wanda Metropolitano?
The 27-year-old has been rotated in and out of Simeone’s side over the last few weeks, vindicating the decision to hand him a start against Real Mallorca with a brace in a 3-0 win. Before that, though, Morata had been struggling for form, with his only goal since the restart coming in a 5-0 demolition of Osasuna.
There’s no suggestion that Simeone will look to move Morata on, with the striker only signing permanently from Chelsea in the January window, but there are questions over who will lead Atletico Madrid in the long-term. Edinson Cavani, who is now a free agent after leaving Paris Saint-Germain, has been strongly linked with a move to the club. Would Morata be knocked further down the pecking order in the case of Cavani’s arrival? Is the Spanish international good enough to be Atleti’s first choice centre forward? And if he is, how will he fit in?
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