Atlético Madrid’s pre-season has become something of a club tradition. The players return from the summer holidays for a gruelling training camp in Los Ángeles de San Rafael. This is followed by a match in Burgo de Osma (a nod to the memory of Jesús Gil) and another friendly match at the Carranza, building on the good relationship with the Cádiz board. The Ramón de Carranza trophy match is now a one-off, not a summer tournament like it once was, but Atlético’s presence gives a certain cachet to the old and beloved trophy, which was for so many years, along with the Teresa Herrera, was one of the highlights of August. Last night Atlético won the trophy for the eleventh time.
No need for Ronaldo
Diego Simeone has a great squad with plenty of attacking options, so there is no need for Cristiano Ronaldo. Álvaro Morata, who scored the first goal, was magnificent in and around the box, good news for Atlético and the Spain national team. His return creates a salary cap adjustment problem, it’s difficult to fit him and Antoine Griezmann in, but it would definitely be absurd to do without both just to bring in Cristiano. Attack aside, new signing Axel Witsel made a good impression, playing first as a sweeper, and then in midfield, with ease and class. An eye-catching player. The great novelty of the season, in my opinion.
El Cholo played with three centre-backs, or six, to be precise (three first and three later) and showed what a squad he has. For Cádiz, who still have signings to make, this Atlético was too much of a match. And when they were playing at their best, they took the lead, Saúl scored with his hand, without Munuera or the linesman of the Atlético attack seeing it, to the indignation of the home crowd and players. It was one of those plays that give those who defend VAR a great argument, although it is worth reminding them that Cádiz have also suffered major misdemeanours through VAR. At least they eased the scoreline a little by scoring the final goal.