Club Focus – Atletico Madrid – Forlan wants to halt Inter in European Super Cup

Last season Atletico Madrid were undone by their poor start to their La Liga campaign and struggled to make a mark against domestic opponents besides the 2-1 triumph over league champions Barcelona. Los Rojiblancos were slow out of the blocks and despite their positive results in the latter parts of the season they could not salvage a fourth place finish which would have opened the door for Champions League football. As such, the club’s star players Diego Forlan and Sergio Aguero are concentrating on starting the season with a strong impact and believe winning the European Super Cup could offer the perfect tonic to kick-start a successful league campaign.

Winning the Europa League after the disastrous start to last season was quite important as striker Forlan highlighted the effect the European triumph has had on the club. El Atleti successfully retained the Uruguayan hero as well as Aguero and were able to sign a number of solid players such as defenders Filipe Luis and Diego Godin. Aguero is expected to sign a three-year extension to his contract which would effectively rule out any possibility of his departure considering a massive buy-out clause will be inserted to the new agreement. Considering Aguero is only 22-years-old, this would be an important transaction which would highlight the club’s desire to become a force in Spanish football. The player known as Kun Aguero has managed to score at least 20 goals in all competitions during the last three seasons and it would be hard to bet against the striker repeating those feats this time around. Forlan has received most of the plaudits in recent months which are fully deserved considering he managed to score the winning brace against Fulham in the Europa League Final. Nevertheless, Kun Aguero’s talent deserves more attention as he is not just a scorer or a one-dimensional player having provided his teammates with a total of 11 assists in each of the last two seasons in all competitions. With Aguero and Forlan certain of remaining at the Vicente Calderon, Atletico have succeeded in the most important objective of the summer which was to keep their attacking partnership intact despite the reported interest from a host of elite clubs in Serie A and the English Premier League.

The fact they stayed is not just a huge sign of commitment displayed by the two stars but also a massive boost to the club’s transfer campaign which yielded Uruguay centre-back Godin as well as Juventus outcast Tiago on a loan deal for the season. El Atleti have received further boosts on the transfer front with wingers Simao Sabrosa and Jose Antonio Reyes both declaring their unequivocal desire to remain at the Vicente Calderon amid their strong belief in the club’s project. The Portuguese Simao has been a consistent performer for Los Rojiblancos playing in over 40 games in each of the last seasons including a remarkable 59-game haul in all competitions for the 2009/10 season. As for Reyes, the Spaniard was disappointed at his exclusion from the World Cup winning squad but at the age of 26, Atletico will be hoping the winger can recapture his best form and play up to his potential. Reyes was successful during his Arsenal stint but failed to stamp his name during spells with Real Madrid and Benfica.

With the squad almost set except for the potential signing of Rennes right-back Rod Fanni and the departure of some fringe players, Atletico will turn their attention to the European Super Cup clash against Inter to use it as a building block and the proper setting for a strong start to the season. The Nerazzurri have one of the best teams in Europe and will be a stern test for El Atleti. Despite the confidence of both Forlan and Aguero, the Nerazzurri will likely have too much for Atletico in particular with a new-look defensive line coming up against the likes of Samuel Eto’o and Diego Milito. The European Super Cup will not break or make the club’s season but star players such as Forlan are aware they cannot afford another slow start which would cost them a berth in the Champions League for the 2011/12 season.

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