Diego Simeone says he worries about "everything offensively and defensively" and admitted Atletico Madrid need to improve after seeing their 100 per cent start in LaLiga ended by Real Sociedad.

Atletico entered Saturday's contest, the first competitive fixture played at Sociedad's Reale Arena, having won their opening three league matches.

However, a fired-up Sociedad took all three points thanks to a deflected opener from Martin Odegaard and a debut goal for former Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal.

Atletico coach Simeone concedes there is work for his side to do.

"Everything worries me, I worry about anything that happens offensively and defensively," he said.

"We need to grow. We know what we have and what we are and where we need to go. LaLiga is very difficult, when you don't start a match how you should start, you lose.

"Since pre-season this is the first defeat, we need to improve and grow."

Simeone added that Atletico did not produce their best football until the game was already gone.

"The team wore its best face when already 2-0 [down]," he said. "In the final part [of the game] it's when we identified more with what we were doing."

Atletico Madrid's 100 per cent LaLiga record was emphatically ended on Saturday, as they lost 2-0 to a fired-up Real Sociedad in the first competitive fixture played at the Reale Arena.

Diego Simeone's side had managed three straight wins prior to the international break but turned in a below-par performance on the road, conceding two goals in a costly three-minute spell in the second half.

After a trio of away games at the start of the 2019-20 campaign, Sociedad excelled in front of a raucous crowd at their revamped home, albeit Martin Odegaard's opener owed much to a huge deflection off Stefan Savic.

They doubled their lead soon after through debutant Nacho Monreal, the former Arsenal defender seizing on a loose ball to poke home ahead of Jan Oblak.

Atletico's goalkeeper was injured in trying to prevent Monreal scoring and, after lengthy treatment on the field, was replaced by Antonio Adan, adding further to Simeone's concerns ahead of the start of the Champions League group stage in midweek.

Oblak had saved from Mikel Oyarzabal with an outstretched leg in a first half that saw the home side on top, while Savic denied Sociedad's captain when he inadvertently turned away an on-target header with his thigh.

Simeone sent on Marcos Llorente and Angel Correa in an attempt to turn the tide early in the second half, only for the visitors to be laid out by Sociedad's rapid one-two punch.

They had rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat Eibar at home last time out but were unable to complete a similar comeback on this occasion, Sociedad goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya denying both Vitolo and Savic with smart saves to keep a clean sheet against his former club on a memorable occasion for the hosts.

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone insists he is not worried about Angel Correa's state of mind after his failed move to AC Milan.

Correa, 24, was strongly linked with a move away from Atletico in the transfer window and was understood to have been a primary target of Milan.

The Argentina international, who has struggled to build on his early promise, looked to have fallen further down the pecking order in attack over the pre-season, with Joao Felix arriving, Alvaro Morata already on the books and Vitolo producing some eye-catching displays.

Milan were reported to have offered him a route out and a key role in a new era at the club, but they and Atletico failed to reach an agreement for the player who is said to have been valued at €50million.

He is yet to play for Atletico this season, but Simeone is adamant Correa has a place in the squad and can be important.

"I have seen him train in the best way, with the best predisposition and prepared for what the team needs, be it on the wing or as a forward," Simeone told reporters ahead of Saturday's trip to Real Sociedad.

"That has not changed because of what happened. Now that he has returned, he has had these 10 days.

"He is an important player. He gives us a directness and change of pace in attack that not many have. We will use him where he feels most comfortable."

Friday is the 32nd anniversary of Simeone's professional debut with Velez Sarsfield and the former Argentina international paid tribute to his coaches for developing him into the tactician he is today.

"I debuted 32 years ago when I was just 17 years old," he said. "It was a beautiful stage in my career.

"I remember working with some really great coaches. They made me a better person and they helped pave my way for the future to give me that possibility to become a coach.

"That allowed me to be immersed in my big passion, which is football, and the truth is I feel very happy about that.

"To have that moment, it's clear there were many happy and sad moments, just like life itself."

LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid can capitalise on aging Barcelona and Real Madrid sides in the 2019-20 title race, according to Diego Forlan.

Heading into the first international break of the campaign, Atletico are the only LaLiga side with a 100 per cent record from three games.

Despite losing star striker Antoine Griezmann to defending champions Barca and captain Diego Godin to Inter on a free transfer, the Rojiblancos have looked strong under long-serving coach Diego Simeone.

The club-record €120million arrival of Joao Felix from Benfica has freshened Atletico's attack, with former striker Forlan backing them for a first league triumph since 2013-14.

"Yes. Well, we have to see," Forlan said, courtesy of LaLiga, when asked about his old team's title chances. 

"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 did 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."

Atleti return to action away to Real Sociedad on September 14, before welcoming Juventus to the Spanish capital four days later for the start of the Champions League group stage.

Diego Simeone dismissed talk of winning the LaLiga title after Atletico Madrid preserved their 100 per cent record with a last-gasp comeback against Eibar.

Atletico rallied from 2-0 down to dramatically prevail 3-2 over Eibar thanks to substitute Thomas Partey's 90th-minute winner in Madrid on Sunday.

Eibar threatened a sensational upset at Wanda Metropolitano, where goals from Charles and Anaitz Arbilla put the visitors in control after 19 minutes.

However, Joao Felix and Vitolo helped restore parity by the 52nd minute before Thomas came off the bench to complete the fightback at the death.

Atletico are the only team with three wins from three LaLiga matches heading into the international break but head coach Simeone is not getting carried away.

"No, there's a lot of new people in the team, we are rebuilding the team," Simeone told reporters when asked about the possibility of winning LaLiga.

"A lot of new players are getting used to our system, to the way that we work and we need to win, win, win another time. We have three new defenders this season and there is a lot of responsibility on my shoulders, eight players left, eight new ones have come in.

"Everybody is very excited but we have to stay quiet and work."

Atletico – who defied the odds to claim the league title in 2013-14 – are two points clear atop the table, four ahead of bitter rivals Real Madrid and five better off than defending champions Barcelona.

The last time Atletico had nine points from nine to start the season, they captured the LaLiga trophy in 2014 but Simeone added: "We had Raul [Garcia], Tiago and Gabi on our team, now my players are very, very young.

"Thomas, Joao [Felix], [Renan] Lodi, Saul [Niguez]. Back then when we won the league my players were better and now my team, we need to build it, we need to think that every game is a final."

Atletico will travel to face Real Sociedad on September 14 following the international break.

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone refused to discuss rumours linking the club to former Inter captain Mauro Icardi.

Inter outcast Icardi has been linked with a move away from San Siro throughout the transfer window and Atletico have reportedly emerged as an option.

According to reports, Atletico are negotiating a deal to sign Argentina forward Icardi – who has been frozen out by Antonio Conte's Inter – on loan.

With the window set to close on Monday, Simeone was asked about his countryman but he told reporters: "I always say the same.

"I can't really speak about players that are not here. Obviously I only speak about players that we have."

On the transfer window, Simeone added: "We still waiting for it to close to know definitively and exactly what players will be with us until December, because in December there is new option.

"But it's clear, I don't want to keep repeating it would prefer it to be like it is in England where it's solved before we start LaLiga. So we can start with the whole squad we have for the season."

Simeone fronted the media on the eve of Atletico's clash with Eibar at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Sunday.

Atletico are set to be boosted by the return of star striker Diego Costa, who missed the team's opening two wins of the season due to injury.

"I have always declared the effect he has, Diego. I always said it and feel it," Simeone said.

"He is a very important player for the team and for this club. I hope that this season he shows this group just how competitive he is and how strong he is as a striker.

"He has had a great pre-season and tomorrow he will kick off his league and for sure he will start that with a lot of ambition."

Joao Felix can become "one of the best", according to Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

Atletico beat Leganes 1-0 courtesy of a second-half goal from Vitolo, who was played in by €120million signing Joao Felix for the decisive strike.

Oblak heaped praise on the 19-year-old's performance while hailing the team's game management across a contest in which they survived 10 attempts on goal from Leganes.

"I knew he had great talent, great potential," Oblak said of his Portugal international team-mate.

"The club has made a lot of effort to bring him here and we all agree that they have brought a high-quality player and that he can become one of the best, for sure.

"At the moment he is playing very well and hopefully he continues like this, giving us joy.

"It was a complicated game. Any team will have problems here against Leganes.

"Vitolo came on and scored the winning goal but in general the whole team played in the best possible way. We have defended well, we have suffered.

"It is important to know how to suffer because you cannot dominate the whole game."

Diego Simeone echoed Oblak's comments about Leganes, against whom he fielded a back three rather than his usual four.

The approach paid off as Atleti ground out a second win in as many games.

Simeone told reporters: "We needed to win and tried to do so in different ways. We changed things around and we won.

"Leganes never allow you to relax - they're very strong at home."

Diego Simeone labelled former Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres as "an absolute legend of football" after the Spain great played the last game of his career on Friday.

Torres, 35, announced his decision to retire in June, targeting Sagan Tosu's clash with Vissel Kobe as the perfect match to finish with due to the presence of his former national team colleagues David Villa and Andres Iniesta.

Unfortunately for Torres, Tosu were on the end of a 6-1 hiding at home – Iniesta playing a key role, while the man of the moment failed to bring his career to a close with a goal.

Torres spent much of his career with Atletico, playing with and for Simeone at the club before moving to Japan in 2018.

And Simeone paid tribute to Torres in his news conference on Saturday.

"I think Fernando is very intelligent, an absolute legend of football, he has earned his place in football for his work, commitment and respect for others," Simeone said.

"He has always had a great respect, as a person and footballer. I imagine he will take his time to prepare and decide in the best way where he wants [his career to take him after retirement] and respond to that responsibility.

"Hopefully that's not in so many years, because then we could meet again."

Atletico began the new league season with a 1-0 win over Getafe last week, but Simeone remains frustrated that the campaign has started with the transfer window still open.

"It's an awkward situation for everyone, the players, coaches, clubs," Simeone added, with Atletico due to face Leganes on Sunday.

"I don't like the league starting before the transfer window closes. It would be better if we all knew who [players] we will have in the season. It would be healthier for everyone, but it's not up to me."

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone said Joao Felix has to keep improving following his LaLiga bow against Getafe, while fellow debutant Kieran Trippier earned praised after setting up the winning goal.

Joao Felix had his first taste of Spanish top-flight football as Atletico opened their LaLiga campaign with a 1-0 victory thanks to Alvaro Morata's 23rd-minute header at home to Getafe on Sunday.

A club-record €126million signing from Benfica, Joao Felix was largely subdued by Getafe, but the 19-year-old did produce a stunning solo run from inside his own half to earn a second-half penalty, which Morata failed to convert.

Discussing Joao Felix's debut at the Wanda Metropolitano – where the Portuguese sensation was substituted in the 66th minute following a knock – Simeone told reporters: "The first league game is not easy. It's complex.

"A rival who tactically moves well defensively. They have not left him space in the first half so that he can take advantage of his game.

"But in an individual action showed his power and hopefully these situations appear with more continuity. He has to keep improving."

England international full-back Trippier also made his LaLiga debut alongside Joao Felix and Renan Lodi, after arriving from Champions League finalists Tottenham in the off-season.

Trippier provided the inch-perfect cross for Morata to head past David Soria in Madrid, while Lodi was sent off following two yellow cards in quick succession prior to half-time after Getafe's Jorge Molina had been controversially sent off at the conclusion of a VAR review moments earlier.

"He played very well with depth, quality and precision," Simeone said of Trippier. "His cross to Morata was great and he found a specialist like Morata."

On Morata – who led the line in the absence of injured team-mate Diego Costa – Simeone added: "From him I expect what he did in the whole game today. Obviously having more forcefulness on the penalty, but Morata's match was fantastic, he fought all the balls, scored a goal and constantly generated danger."

Simeone was also asked about Valencia forward Rodrigo Moreno, who has been tipped to join Atletico before the transfer windows shuts on September 2.

"We cannot talk about Rodrigo, because he is in Valencia. We have to talk about the players who are here," Simeone said.

Alvaro Morata's first-half goal earned Atletico Madrid a 1-0 win over Getafe as they made a victorious start to the new LaLiga season.

Morata converted a cross from new signing Kieran Trippier, who impressed on his debut, 23 minutes into the first half at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Getafe's Jorge Molina and Atletico's Renan Lodi were both sent off in quick succession as events took a dramatic turn before half-time.

Morata spurned the opportunity to claim a second when he saw a penalty saved in the second half after fine work from Joao Felix, who caught the eye before being substituted after an awkward fall in the 66th minute.

But Atletico held on to a hard-fought victory regardless.

It was a close-season of change at Atletico with the departure of Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona and an influx of new arrivals including €126million Joao Felix and England international Trippier.

The former Tottenham defender claimed his first assist, delivering a pinpoint cross from the right which was powerfully headed home by Morata.

It was no more than the home side deserved after a dominant start and they were dealt a further boost when Molina saw his initial yellow card switched to red following a VAR consultation after he caught Thomas Partey's heel with his studs.

Yet, in a dramatic end to the half, Atletico were also reduced to 10 men after Lodi, making his debut, received two yellow cards in quick succession, his second for appearing to catch Damian Suarez's face in an aerial duel.

After the break, a sensational run from Joao Felix ended with him being poleaxed for a penalty in the 56th minute, only for Morata to see his spot kick saved superbly by David Soria.

Joao Felix was soon replaced by fellow new signing Marcos Llorente after receiving medical attention and Diego Simeone's side managed to cling on to the three points despite Angel Rodriguez hitting the crossbar from long-range late on.

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has reiterated his desire for the transfer window to close before the LaLiga season starts.

Spanish clubs have until September 2 to complete their transfer business and there is still the possibility of incoming and outgoing activity at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Atletico, who begin their campaign with a home match against Getafe on Sunday, have been strongly linked with Valencia forward Rodrigo and Angel Correa is among those to have been tipped for the exit.

Simeone said he wants LaLiga to follow the example set by the Premier League in moving the cut-off point for new signings as it would be "mentally healthier" for teams.

"I think all the managers would love it, like it happens in England," he said. 

"If I am not wrong, all of them have the squad built when the competition starts. 

"It would be mentally healthier for everyone being focused on the guys who will play. Now we have to wait until September 2 as there can be updates."

Atletico appeared to be on the brink of signing Rodrigo from LaLiga counterparts Valencia earlier this week, only to pull the plug on a deal reported to be worth €60million.

Valencia general director Mateu Alemany revealed the original offer is "no longer on the table", but Simeone was unwilling to comment on the transfer saga ahead of Sunday's meeting with Getafe.

"You should ask to Andrea Berta, Miguel Angel [Gil Marin] and Enrique [Cerezo]," he said. "I am just focused on Getafe, a team who did a fantastic season last year."

Correa's future is also uncertain on the eve of the new season amid links to AC Milan, though that deal could depend on Rodrigo joining Atletico as a replacement.
 
Asked if Correa is part of his plans, Simeone said: "I would like all the good players to stay. I would also like to sign all the good players and build the strongest team possible to compete as the team has competed so far."

Koke, Saul Niguez, Jan Oblak and Jose Gimenez have been installed as Atletico's four captains for 2019-20 following the departures of Diego Godin, Juanfran and Antoine Griezmann during the close season.

Atletico Madrid broke their transfer record and Real Madrid spent a huge amount to freshen up their squad, but Barcelona will still be the team to beat in LaLiga's title tussle.

Barca have finished top in eight of the last 11 years, including the past two, and they head into the 2019-20 season as favourites to retain their crown.

The reigning champions accrued 11 points more than runners-up Atletico last time out and have strengthened during the close season with the additions of Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong and Junior Firpo.

But with Zinedine Zidane at the Madrid helm and long-term target Eden Hazard in place, not to mention the signings of Luka Jovic, Eder Militao, Ferland Mendy and Rodrygo Goes, there is hope Madrid can bridge the 19-point gap from last season.

Across the city at the Wanda Metropolitano, Atletico replaced Griezmann with €126million sensation Joao Felix and refreshed some key areas in the squad following the exits of Diego Godin, Filipe Luis, Juanfran and several others.

Ahead of the new season commencing on Friday, we used Opta data to look at which records and landmarks LaLiga's three heavyweights are targeting over the next nine months.

The #PrimeraIberdrola gets underway on September 8th!

Who will be the 2019/20 champions? pic.twitter.com/FyzvJxjEps

— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) August 14, 2019

 

Messi has more records in sight at Barcelona

⦁ With Cristiano Ronaldo no longer in the picture, Lionel Messi is closing in on the ex-Madrid forward's hat-tricks record in the Spanish top flight. One more treble will draw him level with Ronaldo on 34; two more will take him outright top.

⦁ Messi, unsurprisingly, leads the way at the top of Barca's all-time scoring charts in LaLiga with 419 goals to his name. Team-mate Luis Suarez has the chance to move up to third in the list, requiring one more goal to overtake Ladislao Kubala (131).

⦁ Barcelona could become the second team to score more than 6,100 goals in LaLiga history. They go into the season on 6,089, 15 fewer than Real Madrid.

⦁ Messi is also high on the list of the Catalan giants' all-time appearance-makers, featuring 684 times in all competitions to leave him second to Xavi Hernandez (767). Gerard Pique has some catching up to do, but he has a landmark in sight, as he is two outings short of 500 in a Barca shirt.

⦁ In the dugout, Ernesto Valverde is on course to become the 10th manager to reach 450 LaLiga games. The Spaniard, whose future was called into question during the close season, is 26 matches short of that impressive figure.

 

Simeone closing in on milestone Atletico victory

⦁ Retaining the services of boss Diego Simeone was key for Atletico during the close season. The Argentine coach remains and he could become the second manager to reach 200 LaLiga wins with a single team after Miguel Munoz for Real Madrid (257). He heads into the weekend on 180.

⦁ Since Radamel Falcao got the Simeone era up and running with goal number one in 2012, Atletico have gone on to add another 484 in LaLiga, meaning the 500 landmark is within touching distance.

⦁ Atletico have become more synonymous with the defensive side of the game under Simeone and boast one of the world's best goalkeepers in Jan Oblak. The Slovenia international is on 88 LaLiga clean sheets and is aiming to become the third keeper to reach triple figures in the 21st century after Victor Valdes (171) and Iker Casillas (160).

⦁ In new signing Joao Felix, Atletico boast one of the hottest properties in world football. Aged 19, he could become one of the youngest players to score for the club - a record held by Ignacio Camacho (17 years and 364 days when he scored against Recreativo Huelva in 2008).

⦁ Joao Felix will hope to have a long and prosperous career at the Wanda Metropolitano, much in the way team-mate Koke has. The academy product has made 285 league appearances for Atletico and will expected to become only the sixth player to reach 300 this term.

 

 Numancia
 Chivas
 Real Madrid
 MLS All-Stars
 @AtletideSanLuis
 Juventus

 100% win rate in pre-season! #AúpaAtleti #AtletiSummerTour pic.twitter.com/k007cDdLQk

— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) August 10, 2019

 

Familiar faces out to make history for Madrid

⦁ They may have fallen well off the pace last season, but no team has won more matches in LaLiga than Real Madrid's 1690 victories, 55 more than next best Barca. They could therefore become the first team to reach 1,700 victories in the competition.

⦁ Karim Benzema hit a good patch of form towards the end of last season to go sixth on the club's list of all-time leading scorers in all competitions with 222 goals. That leaves him just 20 short of fifth-place Ferenc Puskas, but still a whopping 228 adrift of leading marksman Ronaldo.

⦁ The Frenchman will hope to retain his place up top this term, especially with Hazard now providing the ammunition from out wide. The Belgian is looking to become the eighth current player to reach 100 assists in the top five European leagues. He goes into the season on 89 from his time with Lille and Chelsea.

⦁ Zidane was brought back to Madrid in March, 10 months after stepping down, and he is closing in on 200 games for Los Blancos. The 47-year-old has taken charge of 160 matches in all competitions, leaving him behind five others, including Jose Mourinho (178).

⦁ Players and managers come and go but one thing remains constant - Sergio Ramos marshalling the Madrid defence. The Spanish skipper has made 419 LaLiga appearances in the famous white strip, although he is only seventh on the list of record appearances makers, with Paco Gento (427) the next player in his sights.

Zinedine Zidane must have anticipated problems when he returned as Real Madrid coach in March, but whether he predicted the shambles that has since come to envelop the club is unclear.

Poor pre-season form, rumours of a power struggle with the president emanating from a farcical handling of Gareth Bale's future, uncertainty over new signings – these are all issues on Zidane's plate heading into the 2019-20 LaLiga season.

Madrid finished a whopping 19 points adrift of Barca last season, and the champions certainly don't appear any weaker. Even Atletico Madrid, amid a major rebuild, look better prepared than their neighbours.

Although few will be surprised if Los Blancos fall apart again as they did last term, this season there is at least a little uncertainty surrounding their rivals – could Antoine Griezmann be a disruptive influence at Barca? Will Atletico cope with so much upheaval?

 

Power struggle engulfing a disorganised Real Madrid

Madrid and their fans were supposed to be reinvigorated during the close season, with the transfer business expected to see the squad boosted, deadwood offloaded and supporters excited.

While Eden Hazard will surely thrill, little certainty can be garnered from the rest of their signings. Ferland Mendy has struggled with injury, Eder Militao and Rodrygo are inexperienced and Luka Jovic is reported to have already left Zidane underwhelmed, sparking rumours of a loan exit.

Furthermore, Madrid's outgoings raise questions about their vision. Sergio Reguilon, Dani Ceballos, Jesus Vallejo, Borja Mayoral, Theo Hernandez, Marcos Llorente and Raul de Tomas – all young, all Spanish and all gone.

James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale remain, however, with the latter reportedly at the centre of a power struggle. Zidane wants him out, president Perez doesn't.

How much of an impact the growing tension has on the season remains to be seen, but it cannot help ease the pressure Zidane is under following disappointing pre-season results and winning just 45 per cent of his matches in charge last term.

Compared to Santiago Solari's win percentage of 69, it's fair to say Zidane hasn't been a positive force of change yet. He might not be given the time to turn things around.

 

Simeone's Atletico 2.0

Rarely under Diego Simeone have Atletico been a thrill to watch in the conventional sense, mostly shirking all-out attacking tendencies and relying on a stable, full-blooded defence.

Don't expect that to change despite the most significant overhaul in Simeone's time at the helm, with Griezmann, Diego Godin, Juanfran, Filipe Luis, Lucas Hernandez and Rodri all moving on.

Simeone accepts things will be slightly different given the sheer scale of the changes, but he is not sparing newcomers of his exhaustive methods.

"We must be realistic," he told La Nacion recently. "It will be a moment of renewal. We are going to have to reinvent ourselves, so we have to think only of the day-to-day.

"Perhaps over time that [attitude] has faded, so now we will have to redouble our philosophy."

Atletico's dealings have generally been quite shrewd, if we ignore the somewhat risky signing of the inexperienced – albeit hugely talented – Joao Felix for €126m.

Kieran Trippier and Renan Lodi are very much in the mould of the full-backs they've replaced; Marcos Llorente and Hector Herrera offer a typical Simeone blend of tenacity and technique; Felipe is experienced, and Mario Hermoso was one of LaLiga's best centre-backs last term.

Early indications are encouraging, particularly after that 7-3 pre-season drubbing of Madrid.

 

'La Decision', the sequel

If you didn't get enough of the Antoine Griezmann soap opera last year, by now you're surely sick of the sight of him.

The contrived and ill-conceived 'La Decision' video documenting his agonising over a choice between Atletico or Barca just before the World Cup did little to endear him to either set of supporters, even though he opted to remain in Madrid for another season.

After finally getting the move he reportedly desired in 2018, the pressure couldn't be greater for Griezmann. By all accounts, he had an underwhelming final campaign at the Wanda Metropolitano, with 15 goals in 37 LaLiga games.

A few poor games and Barca supporters – who were widely reticent to the idea of Griezmann signing after last year's debacle – will be straight on his back.

A cursory glance at their treatment of Philippe Coutinho shows what could be in store for him.

But either way, Griezmann does add further depth to an already star-studded line-up of attackers and such a move may provide the jolt he needs to again elevate himself to the level of the world's best.

Despite his relative lack of experience compared to Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong looks more of a ready-made success and will surely take LaLiga by storm following his move from Ajax.

Jose Mourinho believes Joao Felix's huge price tag means he must produce the goods at Atletico Madrid despite his tender years.

The 19-year-old forward joined Diego Simeone's Atletico from Benfica in a €126million move last month and has turned in some dazzling pre-season displays.

As such, his famed Portuguese compatriot Mourinho believes there will be a demand for instant results.

"He has a challenge due to the extent of his talent and because of the investment the club have made on him," Mourinho told the Portuguese Football Federation's (FPF) television channel, Canal 11.

"I believe that he can't escape this responsibility. It doesn't matter if he's 18, 20 or 25.

"What matters is his talent and the responsibility he has."

That responsibility extends to spearheading a challenge for the top honours in Spain and Europe, according to Mourinho.

Despite losing Lucas Hernandez, Rodri, Diego Godin and Antoine Griezmann - the France star's long-anticipated move to Barcelona eventually coming to fruition – Atletico have reinforced impressively.

Kieran Trippier, Marcos Llorente and Hector Herrera are among those to have bolstered Simeone's squad and Mourinho feels they must now look to match Spain's heavyweight duo.

"Atletico Madrid's level of investment leaves them with responsibility to fight for the Champions League and LaLiga," he said.

"It's clear that Barcelona and Real Madrid have to be there because of their power, financial capability, culture and quality.

"Atletico in recent years have been without this responsibility, but the level of investment they've made is incredible.

"It's time to say, 'We're here, we're big, we want to be big and we are here to win'." 

Atletico begin their LaLiga campaign at home to Getafe on Sunday.

Diego Simeone praised Joao Felix after the teenager's impressive start at Atletico Madrid continued against Juventus on Saturday.

Joao Felix scored one and set up the other as Atletico completed a perfect pre-season with a 2-1 International Champions Cup victory over Juve in Stockholm.

The 19-year-old arrived at the LaLiga giants from Benfica for a reported €126million in July and has scored three goals and provided four assists in five pre-season games.

Simeone has been impressed with what he has seen from Joao Felix, who netted 20 times in 42 games in all competitions for Benfica last season.

"Joao has many capabilities. He is adapting very quickly to what the team needs," the Atletico coach told a news conference.

"He has a vision that allows him to adapt to many positions and is in a process of adaptation and the best thing he has is that, I said from the first day, his desire to learn.

"He wants to learn and with that the adaptation process will be shorter. Talent is innate, but the desire to learn is the shortest path that a player has to perform."

Atletico have gone through a rebuild in the close season, the likes of Joao Felix, Marcos Llorente and Kieran Trippier joining, while Antoine Griezmann, Rodri, Lucas Hernandez, Diego Godin, Juanfran and Filipe Luis are among those to have left.

Argentina forward Angel Correa is also linked with a move to AC Milan, but Simeone expects the 24-year-old to stay at Atletico.

"We are open to everything that can happen, transfer wise. There is nothing that can surprise us because obviously there is always something happening until the end so we have to be prepared for that," he said.

"Angel Correa is training in an extraordinary way since he arrived back and there's not any situation that leads me to think about him leaving the team."

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