Matheus Cunha, from ’19’ to ‘9’

Last summer, Atlético still celebrated their recent league championship with a highly inspired Luis Suárez on point before going to the market in search of another striker who could give a break to a Uruguayan striker, cWith greater physical difficulties to play with meters ahead and in a withdrawn team. Andrea Berta studied the market to incorporate a profile with speed, stride and other type of game that could be complemented with his ‘9’.

And the mattress scouts did not have vacations. At the olympic games, they continued to analyze a Rafa Mir who liked him a lot for his good season at Huesca (16 goals despite relegation to Second Division), youth and those qualities to damage the counterattack. With ongoing negotiations and a hat-trick from Murcia against the Ivory Coast, key to advance to the semi-finalsAtlético had the option of Berta’s great wish: Dusan Vlahovic.


Photo by Matheus Cunha

All efforts were transferred to the Serbian striker, at the time at Fiorentina, and called to dominate the area for the next decade.a. An operation that pushed Mir’s and the rest of the alternatives into the background. Finally, Fiorentina was completely uncompromising in its economic aspirations and Atlético had to give up his signing. The Murcian had kept waiting, but finally Sevilla strongly entered into negotiations with Wolverhampton, owner of their rights, and took over Mir.

However, in those same Olympic Games another striker drew enormous attention from the red and whites. Spain had to settle for the silver medal after falling in the final against Brazil, where the ‘false 9’ Matheus Cunha opened the scoring by defining a loose ball in the area. A regular second-row player at Hertha Berlin, he was the most advanced player with the canarinha, forming a very interesting duo with Richarlison. Cunha scored three goals in five matches in Tokyo and added to the pack a good vision of the game, technical management and greater youth (it is from 1999 and Rafa Mir from 1997). The mattress club ended up closing its incorporation for about 30 million.

Athletic Shield/Flag

And, when the lead seemed closed, At the last minute of the winter market, Atlético found the option of incorporating a Griezmann who returned to what was his home for five years to multiply the competition above. The French joined Suárez, João Félix, Correa and newcomer Cunha, the only one without knowing the Simeone method, the player with the lowest international balance and in the Champions League. But, based on work and performance, Cunha has been earning his space. In the first instance, a resource for the team with a disadvantage on the scoreboard, it was gaining ground with all its competitors. His entry coincided with an improvement in the team version, greater energy, speed, pressure strength…

When he managed to get into Cholo’s titular schemes, in February Cunha suffered a knee injury that forced him to stop. Disciplined and always with a good attitude to add to whatever he has to play, the Brazilian He has once again gained prominence until he won the starting prize in the derby against Real Madrid. The goal escaped, but added a lot. Y in Elche he did manage to open the scoring by moving very well in the area to take advantage of Lodi’s great downtown. Meanwhile, he is once again part of the Brazil squad, where he is a fixture for Tite.

Without being a striker to use, he evolves game after game in the final meters, where he still has to improve the definition, but he also demonstrates his good vision to serve balls into space to his teammates and he complements well with all of them, pitchers like Griezmann or João, a dribbler like Correa or a classic number ‘9’ like Suárez. After two titles in a row, Cunha gives way to Suárez’s farewell before his audience. But the Brazilian has presented a candidacy to be increasingly important in the team. He has seven goals and four assists and his progression is enormous. Diego Costa can be a great mirror in which to look at the way in which he was adapting as the most relevant player at the top and improving his scoring figures year after year. The ’19’, he presents a candidacy to be the ‘9’ of the next campaign.