Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Simeone includes son in first squad of season for champions Atletico

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 14 Aug 2021

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Diego Simeone has included his son Giuliano in the Atletico Madrid squad for the first match of their LaLiga title defence.

Atletico, who won their second league crown under Simeone last term, start away to Celta Vigo on Sunday.

They were linked with centre-forwards for much of the off-season, but their inability to bring in significant reinforcements in that department has seen Simeone’s second son get a chance.

Giuliano, 18, started all five of Atletico’s pre-season friendlies and in doing so earmarked himself as a potential alternative in attack.

Nominally a left-winger, Giuliano has enjoyed encouraging performances while featuring in a more central berth in pre-season.

Prior to July, Giuliano had never featured for Atletico’s senior team, but now he could make his competitive debut at Balaidos on Sunday.

New signing Rodrigo De Paul is also in the selection following arrival from Udinese for a reported €35million.

He joined having earned himself a stellar reputation in Serie A, his 82 key passes in 2020-21 bettered by only Hakan Calhanoglu (98).

Only five players got more assists than his nine, but all of them massively out-performed their modest expected assists records, which ranged from 3.4 to 6.7. De Paul topped the charts for expected assists with 10.3 xA, evidence that his assists reflected the quality of his service rather than him getting lucky or benefiting from unusually good finishing by team-mates.

Yet the area that highlights a particular compatibility with Atleti is the fact he won more duels (294) than anyone else in Serie A in 2020-21.

Combine that with his league-leading completed dribbles (122) and it paints a picture of a hard-working player who also possesses the quality to get his team on the front foot.

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