This season saw a lot of changes in the Atletico Madrid squad. Besides the departure of key players Antoine Griezmann and Rodri, three of the everpresent defenders in the Diego Simeone era bid farewell to the club. Replacing the legendary Diego Godin is by no means a simple task. This season, two new centre-backs have been signed: Mario Hermoso from Espanyol, and Felipe Monteiro from Porto. Both were solid last season for their respected clubs, and are expected to perform.
Felipe started his professional career rather late, at the age of 20. He spent two seasons at Uniao Mogi and four years with a complex mix of spells at Bragantino, Coimbra MG and Corinthians. He then spent the last three seasons at Porto. On July 1st, 2019, his 20-million-Euro transfer to Atletico Madrid was completed.
Simeone’s use of centre-backs
Atleti’s defence was at its most chaotic last season. According to Statsbomb, Lucas Hernandez missed 26 games due to injury, Jose Gimenez missed 19, Stefan Savic missed 18, Filipe Luis missed 13, Diego Godin missed 10, and Juanfran missed 9. Injuries forced Simeone to improvise. He used a total of eight centre-backs throughout the season, including central midfielders Saul Niguez, Thomas Partey and Toni Moya. Atletico’s elite defensive system helped them hold things together, but centre-back is certainly a department they needed to improve on.
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