A year ago, in an interview with EFE, Marcos Llorente is He was glad to have chained five games as a starter and acknowledged “not being used” to playing on the right wing. Twelve months later, he is indisputable, a scorer and a Swiss army knife of a thousand uses for the Argentine coach Diego Pablo Simeone.
Almost no one could anticipate a year ago the qualitative leap that Marcos Llorente was going to give up to become one of the great assets of the
Atlético de Madrid for the round of 16 duel of the Champions League against him Chelsea English that will start this Tuesday in Bucharest (Romania).
In February 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic was just a page in the international section of newspapers, Llorente he valued as the “best moment” since he wore the rojiblanco those five titles between League Y Cup, and admitted about the position on the right wing in which he was beginning to place him then Simeone that “as long as we go out to the field, we are not going to complain.”
“Yes it is true that it is not mine, that I am not used to it, but little by little I am adapting, I am very happy, it allows me more to reach the area, run more, and I am delighted”, Llorente added next conversation with EFE prior to the last sixteen crossing, also against an English team: the Liverpool, current champion of Europe.
The return of that tie in Anfield Road, with the Athletic on the canvas after having received the 2-0 from the Brazilian at the start of extra time Roberto Firmino, was the point of Llorente as rojiblanco: his two goals, both with shots on the edge of the area, and his assistance for the third of Alvaro Morata, generated the most beautiful European football night in recent years for the rojiblanca fans.
Months later, in the return of football forced by the pandemic, Simeone He confessed that he decided to advance the position of a footballer signed for his ability as a defensive midfielder when he saw his ability to score in training.
“I saw that he scored goals, goals, goals … And a boy who scored goals had to be taken advantage of, because the goal is very important in football,” said Simeone, who went from placing him inside right to placing him as second striker in the resumption of post-pandemic football.
PIVOT, INNER, FRONT OR SIDE
Despite his magnificent numbers last season (5 goals and 5 assists in 17 games from February 14, 2020), in which he served as both inside and second striker, Llorente was slow to make his place this season.
Between the right interior and sometimes returning to his old pivot demarcation, the best Llorente was not seen, until Simeone launched the last reinvention of his scheme to a 5-3-2 with three centrals and long lanes as he found his best football: as inside on the right and with the English Kieran trippier as a laner, with whom he forged a promising partnership.
With the route of the Englishman and the speed of the Madrilenian, who took advantage of his services to break towards the baseline and generate passes for the forwards, the Athletic had found his perfect partnership for the right side … Until he ran out of Trippier, sanctioned by English Federation without playing until February 28 for breaching the betting regulations.
The physical fragility of the Croatian Sime Vrsaljko, the natural substitute for Trippier and the firmness of Simeone in his current 5-3-2 he has led to Llorente to experience a new position: that of lane on the right, in which the technician relies on his exuberant physique to complete that round trip.
The Madrilenian complies, but the team loses a relevant source of danger when Llorente is far from the rival area. His last two goals, both away from home against him grenade and Levante with shots traced from the edge of the area, occurred when he had a teammate guarding the right wing. Although she also knew how to make an assistance from her Luis Suarez before him Celta Vigo.
With that and with everything, Llorente He has 9 goals this season, the same goals as the Portuguese Joao Felix and only behind Suarez, and 8 assists, only one less than the Argentine Angel Correa.
Everything indicates that this Tuesday he will return to be a lane on the right, one more reinvention for Llorente, the Swiss army knife of Diego Simeone with which he aspires to gain an advantage in the ‘exile’ of Bucharest, mandatory due to border restrictions due to the pandemic. The Madrilenian already knows what it is to be decisive in a round of 16 knockoutChampions'Against an English team.