Atlético's academy shows up with Saúl and Koke covering 32km
Atletico Madrid started with Koke, Saúl, Lucas and Rodrigo from their academy and the pair dominated midfield as they ran their socks off and topped the distance covered chart.
Former Atlético Madrid captain, Gabi, told As that "to play in a final of the Champiosn League, for me, was the best way to represent the club. It is a game that many people watch, you represent the badge, and what you do is going to be around the world. For this, many of my best game were like this. It was my way to represent the fans," said the former captain who left the club this summer. But, he left Koke and Saúl in the middle of the field and the two academy products have made it clear that they got the message.
In Tallinn on Wednesday night, they lifted their third European Super Cup by defeating their biggest rival in extra-time. They won thanks to a double by Diego Costa, along with Lemar showing why he became the club's most expensive player ever, and Godín playing a captain's role in his first game with the armband. But one area where Atlético Madrid really shone was in the quality of their academy products. The rojiblancos lined up with Lucas Hernandez, Rodrigo, Saul and Koke from the academy and brought Thomas Partey on in the second half too.
Koke and Saúl were leaders in the middle of the field and ran a total of 31.9 kilometres between them despite the fact that it was the first official match of the season. The pair topped the charts in terms of running and and they sealed the victory with goals in extra-time. Koke, the midfielder from Vallecas, ran 16-10 kilometres and Saúl ran 15.85 while scoring the goal of the game with a volley beyond Keylor Navas to make it 3-2.
Rodrigo impressed in his debut after returning from Villarreal this summer. In his first official game for Atlético, he played for 71 minutes, and proved he has an exciting future ahead of him in red and white. Lucas played at left-back and while his preseason preparation has not been ideal having just returned from the World Cup, he did a good job on Real Madrid's talisman, Gareth Bale. He started after just nine days worth of training and ran 13.32 kilometres, which was enough for fifth on the distance covered chart - after Koke, Saúl, Carvajal and Benzema. Thomas came on in the 89th minute. He took up a role in a more advanced role than usual and he made the goal for Saúl.
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