Diego Forlan believes Atletico Madrid have closed the gap on Barcelona and Real Madrid

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Diego Forlan has claimed that Atletico Madrid have closed the gap on Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The Atletico legend scored 74 goals in 134 games for the club before moving to Inter Milan.

His former side experienced a positive start to their season, winning all three of their opening games to steer four and five points clear of Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.

“Yes. Well, we have to see,” Forlan said, courtesy of La Liga when asked if Atletico can go all the way.

“I know that Real Madrid and Barcelona have great players but so do Atletico Madrid. They signed really good players, Joao Felix as I said, and Diego Costa is an experienced player, great talent.

“They’ve renewed the team with some great young players. They had a great pre-season and now we need to see how they do in the league. But they look really good. What they showed in the pre-season was interesting, great games against great teams.

“The derby against Real Madrid, I know it was a friendly but it was also a derby and nobody likes to lose by that kind of score [7-3].

“They’re going to be fighting [for the title], they always fight. The gap is getting a little closer now. And those players that made history for Real Madrid and Barcelona, they’re getting older as well. That could be an advantage for Atletico Madrid.

“Having a new team and renewing the team every season. Real Madrid and Barcelona are doing it a little slower than Atletico but they’re still in great shape. Great players with experience. We have to see, but I think Atletico Madrid are in a good position to fight for the title again.”

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Watch Diego Simeone play down title talk for Atletico Madrid after comeback win

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Reaction from Diego Simeone after his Atletico Madrid side came back from two goals down to defeat Eibar 3-2 in the Spanish La Liga at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Sunday.

Eibar were 2-0 up inside the opening 20 minutes through Charles and Arbilla, but Atletico fought back with goals from Joao Felix and substitutes Vitolo and Thomas Partey to preserve their perfect start to the new La Liga season.

Watch his press conference above:









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Atletico Madrid ace Joao Felix leaves his mark despite average performance against Eibar

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Felix

Atletico Madrid and Eibar played out an exciting five-goal thriller at Wanda Metropolitano with the hosts coming from behind to maintain their 100-per-cent record this season.

Joao Felix scored first for the hosts after they went 2-0 behind. Vitolo and Thomas Partey notched in the second half to complete the comeback.

The Portugal youngster registered his first league goal for his new club and continued acting as the focal point of Atletico’s attack. We inspect his performance:

Key stats

Minutes: 84

Goals: 1

Assists: 0

Shots (on target): 1 (1)

Passes (success rate): 13 (9)

Key-passes: 0

Dribbles: 0

Aerials Won: 2

30-second report

Felix displayed a lacklustre performance. He netted from Diego Costa’s cut-back but endured a challenging night at the Metropolitano.

The 19-year-old did not produce magical moments that he promised during the friendlies. He struggled to get used to Eibar’s physicality and could need some time to adapt to the league.

Felix came off in the 84th minute for Partey, who eventually scored the winner.

Got right – Link-up

Felix linked up beautifully with striking partner Diego Costa and Thomas Lemar in midfield. The Portuguese opened Eibar’s defence on the counter with an inch-perfect through-ball to the Spaniard and finished the move off by arriving just in time to net the cut-back.

The former Benfica man dropped to receive the ball and linked well with the midfielders. But his chemistry with Costa has to be his key take-away from the game.

Got wrong – Physicality

Felix’s thin frame will is susceptible to being bullied in La Liga.

Eibar provided the youngster with a taste of what other physically superior teams such as Espanyol could offer. Felix struggled and went to ground frequently.

He also dived in the box twice, with the referee falling deaf years to his shout for a penalty. Defenders in Spain don’t take players who go down easily kindly. Felix needs to adapt to the league and show more strength before going down.

Summary

This performance was not a fair reflection of what the 19-year-old is capable of.

Felix needs to get involved in Atletico’s play more often and take the initiative himself. He also needs to work on the physical aspect of his game.

The Portuguese is just 19 and is very likely to improve at all aspects of his game.

The key takeaway, however, from this game is that Felix can mask an average performance by being clinical in front of goal. After all, his goal laid the foundation to Atletico’s comeback.

Rating: 5/10

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