The revival of Giménez

On January 12, after the 102-minute final of the Spanish Super Cup against the Real Madrid in Saudi Arabia,
José María Giménez F
ue replaced by Diego Simeone afflicted from days before muscle discomfort; On June 14, five months or eleven games later, he will return to the ownership of the Atlético de Madrid in San Mamés.

Protagonist of 180 official matches, eight goals and four titles with the rojiblanco team, he is one of the few survivors of the squad that won the League at the Camp Nou in 2013-14, although he was only an apprentice at the time; nothing to do with what it is now for the team. Not with its hierarchy. Today among the four captains, he also won a Super Cup of Spain (2014), another of Europe (2018) and a Europa League (2018).

The heir to the ‘2’ of Diego Godin – compatriot, teammate and rojiblanca legend today in a new adventure in the Inter de Milan since last summer- he reappears again from the misfortune of injuries, frustrated by the martyrdom that two muscle ailments have caused in recent times that have separated him from 15 of the 38 games this season, when he was called to be a leader indisputable in defense and on all terrains, as a key piece in the structure of Simeone.

The first, a muscle injury to the right thigh, suffered in the 15th minute of the Champions League match against Bayer Leverkusen, played on October 22, left him out of the competition for nine games – in a month and a half -; the second and most recent, a muscular edema, deprived him of three weeks of training and collisions or at least five meetings, because in the end they are almost always more for everything that involves recovering the sensations, the complete set-up and the difficulty of earning a position in the lineup again.

Between the two he suffered muscle discomfort that left him without playing the semifinal of the Spanish Super Cup against the Barcelona in Saudi Arabia.

He reappeared in competition in the last duel before the stoppage by the covid-19 against Liverpool in Anfield, when he played the last 16 minutes of the incredible return match of the knockout stages of the Champions League (2-3), after five Games available without minutes, the resumption of LaLiga Santander in San Mamés against Athletic Club, whose schedule passed this Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Sunday June 14, marks the moment of revival for Giménez.


The return of the competition returns him to his role in the defense of Atlético. To an ownership that today is more than demanding at Atlético. There is no better evidence than the current situation: he will enter eleven by Felipe Monteiro, one of the most outstanding names of the entire first semester of the course, which had chained 27 games as an indisputable starter until the break.

Next to Gimenez, according to the tests so far of Diego Simeone, he will play Stefan Savic, entrenched in the eleven and his partner in the starting lineups at the beginning of the course within the eleven guy who managed Simeone when he had everyone available back in August and September.

It is true that it had not broken perhaps Philip with the determination that no one doubts now, but also that then only the rotations moved the pair of centrals formed by the Montenegrin and the Uruguayan. The Brazilian and Mario Beautiful were the alternates.

That will be the choice in San Mamés … And then? There are not many clues in that sense, within such competition, but it seems unlikely that Felipe, with all the qualities and reliability he has shown, even with the feeling that he was essential in the red and white defense, is a substitute far beyond of the visit to Bilbao or Pamplona on the following day.

Even if Simeone his lineups do not usually change much in the center of the rear, except for injury, sanction or very punctual rest, there are also enough appointments in a short time to make rotations between the four footballers available in that area: eleven days of the League until August – more or less games every three days, depending on the week – and then the Champions League, where the team awaits a rival in the quarterfinals.

“We have always said that we have four very good centrals, very strong and when it has been their turn to play each one they have performed at a great level,” he said last February 29 before visiting the Spanish, when I already had all four available.

In the 17 matches with the four apt, Simeone He has employed three different combinations as starters at the center of defense: Savic-Giménez, up to six occasions concentrated at the beginning of the season; Felipe-Giménez, four times the season, including the final of the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid, when the Uruguayan suffered muscular edema; and Savic-Felipe, the usual throughout this final stretch before the break, when both were the model pair in seven games, including the return leg of the Champions League round of 16 against Liverpool at Anfield.

In San Mamés, the coach will return to the origin: Savic-Giménez, as in seven of the matches this season, with two wins, four draws and one loss. His team received four goals (two in a 2-0 loss against Real Sociedad at Reale Arena and two in Juventus' 2-2 draw at Wanda Metropolitano) and kept his goal to zero in five duels: 1-0 at Getafe, 0-1 to Leganés and 0-0 with him Celtic, with el Real Madrid and with the Valladolid, their last game together since eleven in the center of defense: on October 6, 2019. Eight months ago.

There is no doubt in that choice for Bilbao. In fact, judging by the tests of last week and the current one -this Friday was the last training session before the rest days on Saturday and Sunday-, there are nine positions that already have names in the probable line-up for the resumption of LaLiga Santander: apart from the two of them, the goalkeeper Jan Oblak, the left side Renan Lodi, midfielders Marcos Llorente, Thomas Partey, Saúl Ñíguez and Koke Resurrección and the striker Diego Costa.

On the right side there are two options, Kieran Trippier or Santiago Arias, who emerged this Friday as a possibility when exercising with the titular theorists, with whom the English international had invariably worked in the previous sessions of the week.

And as a companion of Diego Costa, with the loss of Joao Félix By sanction – the Portuguese attacker also continues with his set-up of a sprained left knee – at least four candidates for a position are presented for now: Angel Correa, who is seriously in doubt due to a muscle injury and who jumped this Friday to the pitch to continue with his recovery on the sidelines and with gentle exercises; Thomas Lemar; Yannick Carrasco, with which he rehearsed this Friday, or Víctor Machín, ‘Vitolo’.