The Champions League round of 16 between Atlético de Madrid and Manchester United is one of the tightest and unknown duels of the tournament.
A game between two teams that are not showing consistency in their national leagues and whose participation in the next Champions League edition is still to be decided. Furthermore, this round means a reunion between two iconic rivalries of the last few years, starring by Cholo Simeone representing the ‘Rojiblancos’ and Cristiano Ronaldo as the symbol of their eternal rival.
Atlético de Madrid, a new attempt to conquer their cursed competition:
The Champions League is obviously an obsession for Atlético de Madrid. In fact, it is a blessed obsession, as it seems like many have forgotten where this team comes from and how far they have gotten. The most prestigious clubs tournament is the only trophy that Cholo Simeone has been unable to win in a decade full of successes, but he still does not rule out the possibility to lift it up.
“Atlético are a lot more respected across Europe than they were thanks to Simeone”
Bruno Fernandes on press conference.
Atlético are going through their worst moment under Simeone, as they are doubting about the most basic concept: how to play. The passing of the years has changed the ways and systems to display, and it looks like the offensive football style they showed in the first part of last season has not settled down in a roster with a lot of potential but that has lost many of the ‘Cholismo’ commands that have changed the history of this club.
The atmosphere of the big games at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium can be a key factor and it will also be interesting to see the influence of the abolition of the away goals rule in Simeone´s team, as they have typically prioritize a clean sheet every time they played the first leg at home.
Atlético de Madrid have ahead of them the chance to change the course of their season and stay alive in the competition of the stars.
Manchester United, redemption or new disappointment:
The roller coaster at Manchester United is about to experience a new chapter. The club looked to overcome their negative streak with the exit of Ole Gunnar Solskjær on November 21st 2021 and the hiring of Ralf Rangnick.
The german coached has ended up re-establishing the 4-2-3-1 system that the Norwegian used to display after trying multiple options and now his course in the Premier League is stable. Not as much as his game, which keeps showing previous gaps to his arrival. He is mow ahead of a turning point: to keep or not to his team in the Champions League.
“I will try to prepare our team, my team, for exactly that kind of challenge. It will be physical, it will be emotional. We have to be mentally strong in both games, even more so when we play away”, said Rangnick. The coached expressed his respect for Simeone and his excitement to play these two game.
Furthermore, the German coached made reference to the atmosphere they are going to experience in one of the stadiums that cheer up the most in the continent: “We have to be mentally ready to face a very emotional and hostile atmosphere at the Metropolitano”, he said.
The Atlético de Madrid versus Manchester United round of 16 is a very tight meet and small details will play a huge role.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.
Main image: Edit by José Manuel Calviño.
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