The Atletico Madrid players have released a statement to "convey our satisfaction" after the club withdrew from the European Super League.

Atletico were among 12 clubs who announced plans for the controversial new competition on Sunday.

But the tournament – a rival to the Champions League but with guaranteed participation for its founding members – quickly came under scrutiny.

Anger from fans, players, coaches, governing bodies, governments and the media soon prompted England's 'big six' to back out. Atleti followed, along with Inter and Milan.

Koke, the Atleti captain, posted on his Twitter page on Wednesday: "From the Atletico Madrid squad, we want to convey our satisfaction about the final decision to renounce the Super League project made by our club.

"We will continue fighting to help Atleti grow from our position through the values of effort and sporting merit that have always characterised us, so that all of you continue to see yourself reflected in those signs of identity.

"We continue to work hard, focused on the game tomorrow."

Speaking before Thursday's LaLiga clash with Huesca, Atleti coach Diego Simeone had earlier backed the club both in their decision to pursue the Super League and then to step back.

"I understood that the club was going to decide what was best for the club," he said. "The club has looked at our fans, employees, players, president – the Atletico family."

Simeone added: "We understand that this situation [the withdrawal] is good for everyone. We all belong to football – before being footballers and coaches, we are fans."

Diego Simeone said Atletico Madrid do not feel nervous after the LaLiga leaders slipped up, though he did question his team's intensity.

Atletico suffered a costly 1-0 loss to Sevilla on Sunday, which saw their lead atop the table cut to three points, though Barcelona could close to within a solitary point if they beat Real Valladolid on Monday.

Despite Jan Oblak's penalty heroics, Atletico lost to fourth-placed Sevilla in LaLiga for the first time since 2016 following Marcos Acuna's 70th-minute header.

Atletico have won just four of nine games, having threatened to run away with the LaLiga trophy earlier in the season but pressure is mounting on Simeone's side as defending champions Real Madrid and Barca close in.

"We have to keep working hard and taking a look at what we have to improve," Simeone told reporters. "We have to slightly question our intensity and we need to make sure we get back the intensity that won us so many games and prove the squad's talent and ability.

"We have a week ahead of us now that some players, because of bookings, will not be able to play. We'll try and prepare as well as we can, and we'll keep going game by game. That won't change my mentality at all.

"We can't accept what happened today but we also have to accept that we have to improve, and there are very negative stats at the moment."

Atletico have lost two out of their past seven games in LaLiga (W3 D2), as many as their previous 40 games in all competitions (W26 D12).

Simeone, though, shouldered the blame for Atletico's defeat away to Julen Lopetegui's Sevilla.

"If I make the change at 30 minutes in, that's because myself as the manager, I made the mistake in the analysis of the game, and we wanted to try and do something else, and we tried to make as many changes as we could to make sure we push forward," said Simeone.

"I think the team improved in the second half, we were much more competitive, and we improved a bit more closely as to what we can do. We knew it was a very level game, especially in the second half. We had the chance from Mario Hermoso as well as Angel Correa's chance which was very clear as well.

"We are a side that needs to win games like this and we knew that probably, it was my mistake because I made the wrong decisions before the game so that the team felt comfortable. In the second half we just weren't close enough to what we normally play."

Atletico captain Koke was critical of the referee for not reviewing Acuna's goal amid claims Lucas Ocampos handled the ball at the start of the goalscoring move.

"It was a clear handball for the goal and there was another handball [by Diego Carlos] which should have been a second yellow card," he said.

"We have VAR which has to be there to help out. Today wasn't our day. On other days it has favoured us, today it didn't go our way.

"This is a tough defeat but we tried everything. We struggled in the first half but in the second we had chances."

Atletico director Tomas Renones added: The handball is clear [by Ocampos] and referee should have seen it. It has hurt us, but Atletico are not going to complain, just keep working to stay top of La Liga."

Diego Simeone praised the development of Marcos Llorente after the midfielder helped Atletico Madrid secure a 2-1 victory over Granada. 

Atleti extended their lead at the top of LaLiga to eight points thanks to Angel Correa's deflected winner on Saturday. 

Llorente provided the assist for Correa having opened the scoring himself with a neat finish in the 63rd minute, taking his tally of league goals for the season to seven. 

The 26-year-old – signed primarily to play as a defensive midfielder in 2019 from rivals Real Madrid – scored his first goal for Atleti in a 2-2 draw with Valencia on February 14 last year. 

He has now netted 13 times in all competitions in total for the club, while his tally of 10 league goals since getting off the mark puts him behind only Luis Suarez (16) for Simeone's squad. 

Llorente has averaged a goal every 237 minutes in LaLiga over the last 12 months, as well as providing 10 assists and creating 35 chances. Only Koke, who moved level with Tomas Renones for second place on the list for appearances in all competitions for Atletico, has created more (41).

With his opener against Granada, Llorente became the midfielder in LaLiga with the most direct goal involvements so far this season, so it was hardly surprising when Simeone spoke glowingly of the Spain international's desire to transform himself into an all-round attacking threat. 

"As coaches, titles are wonderful, because they fill you with excitement and glory," Simeone told a news conference. 

"But when you work with a footballer and see his growth reflected, you feel more joy and more enthusiasm to continue advancing in this profession.  

"When we see a footballer with the ability to do different things than what he had been doing in his career, we jump into it. It happened to us with Griezmann, with Saul, with Juanfran. 

"Why is it happening? I would like to look for the images of Marcos training when he was not even playing, when in practice he scored a lot of goals, we joked that he was going to have to play higher [up the pitch]. 

"We put him up front and now I think in the middle is where feels more at ease." 

While Llorente delivered the goods on Saturday, LaLiga's leading scorer Suarez had an off day in front of goal, landing only one of his four attempts on target, though he was unfortunate to hit the crossbar in the second half. 

"We always ask all the boys who have played as strikers in our team for collaboration and effort for the team," Simeone said. 

"Luis, beyond what he generates with his goals, has a lot of intelligence. He knows where to apply pressure, where to bother the rival, generate doubts and we need everyone."

Luis Suarez scored a set-piece double as Atletico Madrid saw off Cadiz 4-2 to move 10 points clear at the LaLiga summit.

Real Madrid's shock 2-1 loss to Levante on Saturday provided Atleti with a chance to extend their lead at the top and they did exactly that with victory at Estadio Ramon de Carranza.

Diego Simeone's men had trailed in their last two outings, though Suarez opened the scoring with a sublime free-kick in Sunday's clash before Alvaro Negredo equalised.

Saul Niguez's flicked finish and Suarez's penalty gave Atleti some breathing space and, while Negredo's second of the day did make things interesting, Koke finished smartly late on to make certain of an eighth league win in a row.

Anthony Lozano glanced wide from a promising Cadiz opportunity and, less than three minutes later, Suarez sent a 28-yard free-kick up and over the wall and into the left corner to give Atleti the lead.

Cadiz were level almost instantly thanks to Negredo, who curled a fine finish beyond Jan Oblak after the ball had ricocheted into his path off Thomas Lemar.

The visitors had won only one of their last eight league games prior to Sunday and it did not take Saul long to restore Atleti's lead with a rather fortunate goal.

Lemar sent in a cross from the right and Saul stuck out a leg, seemingly in an attempt to help the ball on, but instead succeeding in sending it looping over Jeremias Ledesma.

Atleti survived another scare before half-time when a penalty initially awarded for handball against Koke was overturned by VAR due to the midfielder's arm being on the ground when contact was made.

That proved a big moment as Simeone's side converted a penalty of their own through Suarez five minutes into the second half after Marcos Mauro brought down Lemar.

Suarez blazed over when on for a hat-trick and that nearly proved costly as Atletico failed to deal with a ball into the box and Negredo scrambled past Oblak to give Cadiz hope.

Oblak then had to be alert to keep out Negredo's header, but the next goal went Atletico's way, substitute Angel Correa exchanging passes with Marcos Llorente and squaring for Koke to round off the scoring.

Atletico Madrid will not dwell on how Saturday's derby defeat to Real Madrid may have impacted their LaLiga title aspirations, captain Koke says. 

Early leaders Atleti suffered their first league loss of the season, ending a club-record 26-game unbeaten run, as Casemiro's header and a Jan Oblak own goal proved their undoing. 

Koke accepted Madrid deserved victory as Atleti failed to attempt a single shot before the break for the first time in a derby since Opta records began in 2003-04. 

The visitors tested Thibaut Courtois only once in the second half, too, as Madrid closed to within three points of their city rivals at the summit. 

But Atleti, who had won their previous seven league games, still sit top and Koke is confident they can recover. 

"The league season is long and we're still top - we'll go again," said Koke, who attempted (75) and completed (69) the most passes of any Atleti player. 

"They have played better than us tonight, especially in the first half, and there are small margins that make the difference, but we continue and go again.  

"We almost drew the game. We're not thinking about who is going to win the league but just looking forward to the Copa del Rey coming up this week."

For Madrid, it was a third win and third clean sheet in succession - they saw off Sevilla before advancing in the Champions League in midweek - but Dani Carvajal, whose strike led to Oblak's own goal, agreed with Koke's assessment of the title race. 

"It has been a very difficult week for us," he said. "We played tonight against a tough Atletico side. We'll keep going - there are lots of games. 

"We're doing well, it is hard to know how the season will play out. It's not your typical season with injuries and things like that. 

"We were well on top tonight, pressed high, and they had two chances. We're still in a very early stage of the season, but it was important to win tonight and we have Athletic Bilbao during the week." 

The right-back, who celebrated the second goal by sucking his thumb and blowing kisses to the cameras, added: "I had a new baby this week and there was no better way to celebrate the birth than the way I did."

In an alternate universe unaffected by coronavirus, Atletico Madrid's hosting of Barcelona on Saturday would have been all about Luis Suarez – his first match against his former club and Lionel Messi, hoping to create further distance between the two sides in the table.

But with the Uruguayan's positive test for COVID-19 ruling him out of an early reunion, all eyes were to be on Joao Felix, the undisputed star of this Atletico team that once again appears capable of a title challenge.

Seemingly now accustomed to the pressure that accompanied his big-money move from Benfica, and excelling in a slightly altered role to that he often occupied last term, Joao Felix had been identified as the key man for Atletico heading into the fixture.

If Atletico were to walk away with a potentially vital win, Joao Felix would surely be at the fore.

But while the Portugal star was his usual tidy self in the slender 1-0 victory, it was someone a little less flashy, perhaps even usually unheralded, who gave Atletico their direction and purpose on an eerie evening at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Koke's role was arguably going to be more important than ever – Atletico were unable to call upon either Lucas Torreira or Hector Herrera, meaning that whatever central pairing the captain was going to be a part of was going to be lacking a little steel.

But the Spain international, whose recent form earned him a recall after a lengthy Roja absence, found the space he needed to orchestrate, while he did some of the dirty work as well.

In the first half, Atletico played the much more entertaining football, working it nicely between themselves in triangles around the Barca midfield – Koke was central to many of their finest moves, his link-up play with Joao Felix and Angel Correa in the final third routinely easy on the eye.

Koke appears to have rediscovered his best form again this term and his influence on Atleti was clear throughout here.

His 72 attempted passes were 14 more than anyone else in an Atletico jersey, while he completed 93 per cent of them.

Furthermore, his accuracy actually increased slightly when in the opposing half, where 45 of them were plotted.

There was substance to his distribution as well.

He laid on two key passes, bettered by only Correa (three) in the Atletico side, yet the creative burden would usually be expected to be on the likes of Joao Felix, Marcos Llorente, Yannick Carrasco and Saul Niguez ahead of him.

Koke's 88 touches were unrivalled by anyone else in Rojiblanco, evidence that so much went through him, while off the ball he contributed with a team-high two interceptions, one tackle, one clearance and six recoveries – Carrasco (seven), the scorer of the decisive goal, was the only Atletico player to gain possession more often.

In recent seasons, although he remained prominent in a general sense for Atletico, the wider football community's perception of Koke had suffered – he was even subjected to jeers from home fans a little over a year ago.

At that point, his career appeared to have stalled badly at Atletico. His performances were becoming increasingly ineffective and it was beginning to rub off on supporters.

Simeone remained a believer, putting such actions down to the reactionary nature of football fandom – after all, only six midfielders have had more touches and attempted passes than Koke in LaLiga this term.

This resurgence is coinciding with Atletico undergoing their biggest shift in many years, both in terms of their less pragmatic style of play and, now, key results as well.

Prior to Saturday, Atletico had failed to win their previous 20 LaLiga games against Barca, while Simeone had not ever beaten them in the league – that equates to 17 matches.

But with captain Koke plotting their route through such uncharted waters, leading with rediscovered vigour and panache, it seems unlikely that even a landmark win over Barca will be the high point of 2020-21 for a re-energised Atletico.

Alvaro Morata revelled in Spain's 6-0 rout of Germany as Luis Enrique's side shrugged off previous criticism to produce a stunning performance in Seville. 

Spain failed to make the inaugural Nations League Finals after a disappointing 2018 World Cup, but have progressed to the semi-finals in style this time around. 

Germany needed just a point from the clash to ensure they finished top of the group, yet instead Joachim Low's side suffered a chastening defeat on Tuesday. 

Morata opened the scoring, with Manchester City duo Ferran Torres and Rodri also on target before half-time. 

Torres went on to get a hat-trick – becoming the first Spanish player to net three in a single match against Germany – while substitute Mikel Oyarzabal rounded off the scoring late on.

The victory means Spain finish top of Group A4 having inflicted Germany's heaviest defeat since they lost 6-0 to Austria in 1931. 

This was no fluke either as the hosts dominated from the off, Torres alone managing seven attempts compared to two from Germany's entire team combined. 

A delighted Morata believes the performance will have silenced the doubters and praised the attitude of his team-mates.

"There is always something. I want to go home and see what they say about us," Morata told Teledeporte. 

"We have to do our job. The other day we did it. I would like to see what people say now. Against a European and world champion team. 

"We all help each other, there are young people. You have to have faith. We have a Euros ahead of us. 

"It is the attitude of the team. This is the team, we do what we have to do. It is a strong message for everyone. We want to continue this way. 

"It was our best match with Luis Enrique. You have to take it to see all the good we have done. We would like it to always be like this." 

After two years out of the national team picture, Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke has returned to Spain duty this month, featuring in all three November fixtures. 

It was his corner that allowed Rodri to head in Spain's third before the break and he finished the contest with a 95 per cent pass completion rate, also creating five chances for his team. 

"I had been away for a long time and continued working, which I have always done," Koke added. "The work pays off. Anything that is adding is positive for everyone." 

Torres, meanwhile, is anticipating a bright future for Spain. 

"We are very excited about the team we have and how things are going," the forward said. "Now we are going to prepare for the final four in the best possible way."

Luis Suarez fits like a glove and even Lionel Messi and former star Antoine Griezmann would face competition for places at high-flying Atletico Madrid, says Koke.

Uruguay striker Suarez was deemed surplus to requirements by new Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman and, despite being third on the Blaugrana's all-time goalscorers list, joined Atleti for a nominal fee.

From six LaLiga appearances, Suarez has five goals and one assist for his new club, while he has created four chances for his team-mates and hit the target with eight of his 22 shots at goal (including blocked shots).

It is form that has helped unbeaten Atleti to third in the table with two games in hand on the two sides above them in the table.

Atleti midfielder Koke says Suarez's arrival has allowed others in the team, such as Joao Felix, Angel Correa and Marcos Llorente, to flourish.

"A radical change has hit us in [our] game," he told Cadena Ser. "[Having Suarez] leaves Joao, Correa and Llorente free in some situations. He has fit us like a glove."

One player Suarez has had limited playing time with is Diego Costa, with his fellow Atleti forward out with a left thigh injury sustained last month.

Asked about that link-up, Koke added: "They are two great forwards and they have to adapt together. The team is playing well and has more solutions in attack."

While Atleti's current attacking crop are flourishing, Griezmann – who departed for Camp Nou ahead of the 2019-20 campaign – has struggled to find his best form for Barca.

In seven top-flight appearances this season, Griezmann has two goals and an assist and created four chances, while he missed a penalty in the 5-2 win over Real Betis last week.

The last time Barca faced Atleti in June, it took until the 90th minute for Griezmann to enter the fray despite the game being locked at 2-2 – something that took Koke by surprise.

"I was very surprised to see a player of the stature of Griezmann [not play until] the 90th minute in the last duel in which we faced Barca," Koke said.

But when asked about the potential for a Griezmann return, Koke added: "I think now he would have a lot of competition here."

Indeed, such is the strength of Atleti's forward line, Koke believes even superstar Messi – whose himself failed to engineer a move away from Barca in a long-running sage during the close season – would find it difficult to get into the team.

"He would also have a lot of competition at Atleti," Koke added.

Koke is particularly delighted to see Llorente beginning to flourish at Atleti, with the 25-year-old excelling in a more advanced role, scoring three goals and assisting two more this term.

"He does everything. He is at a spectacular level. The work pays off and he works [hard]," Koke said. 

"I'm happy for him because at first he didn't have a good time by not playing, but all work has its reward. Those that last year had fewer minutes have more this season."

Spain defender Hector Bellerin struggled to accept being out of international football for such a long time.

The Arsenal right-back was called up to Spain's squad for the first time in four years after Sevilla's Jesus Navas was ruled out through injury.

He won the last of his three caps for La Roja in a friendly against Georgia in July 2016 and, although he made Spain's squad for Euro 2016, he did not feature at the tournament.

Bellerin, however, was given a recall by coach Luis Enrique for his side's friendly with the Netherlands plus the Nations League fixtures against Switzerland and Germany.

The 25-year-old has been one of Arsenal's most consistent performers this season and played every minute of their eight Premier League games.

He has made 12 interceptions and eight tackles with a success rate of 88 per cent in those matches, helping the Gunners to keep two clean sheets.

"Yes, I am so happy getting back home. It has been almost five years since the last time, so I am very happy," Bellerin said in an interview with the Royal Spanish Football Federation.

"They have been tough years, and they always are when you cannot join the national team, but I am very proud and happy now. I can't wait to start."

Another player thrilled to be recalled by Luis Enrique after a break is Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke, who last featured for Spain just over two years ago.

Koke, 28, has not featured for Spain since a 4-1 friendly defeat of Wales in October 2018.

"I am very happy to be here again with the national team," Koke explained.

"It has been a long time, but I do have the same excitement that I had on my first day and I am looking forward to helping the team win the games."

Spain are top of Nations League Group A4 with seven points but saw their 13-game unbeaten run (W10 D3) in competitive matches ended last time out with a surprise 1-0 loss to Ukraine.

Left-back Jose Luis Gaya has warned his team-mates not to let any complacency seep into their forthcoming performances.

"It is true we are still first, and that gives us a little advantage. But we know how football is and everything can happen," added the Valencia defender.

"We need to try on winning all the games, that's what this jersey demands.

"Therefore, we cannot get relaxed and we have to face two official games plus the friendly one as they were finals."

Spain coach Luis Enrique had no hesitations in handing Alvaro Morata an international recall after claiming the forward has turned himself into a different player at Juventus.

Morata last played for Spain in a Euro 2020 qualifier against Romania last November, seemingly falling out of favour since.

But the 28-year-old re-joined Juventus on loan from Atletico Madrid in September, and an upturn in form has brought him six goals in seven games for the Bianconeri.

Morata has scored 17 times in 33 appearances for Spain since making his debut in November 2014, but his consistency at club level has been questioned in the past.

However, Luis Enrique has closely monitored Morata's performances at Juve and seen enough to warrant his return to the squad.

Spain face the Netherlands in a friendly on Wednesday, before Nations League clashes with Switzerland and Germany.

"I call on Morata because since he returned to Juventus, he is confident and his numbers indicate that," Luis Enrique told a media conference on Friday.

"You can see a different player with many aspects improved in attack and defence. It is always a pleasure to have Alvaro again.

"Those of us who are outside can appreciate that, in terms of confidence and performance, Morata in attack is better than previously."

Luis Enrique also named Atletico midfielder Koke in his squad after an international exile of just over two years.

Koke, 28, last played for Spain in a 4-1 friendly defeat of Wales in October 2018.

The coach continued: "I have always liked Koke, he is of a high level and as a person he's 10 out of 10. The midfield is my weakness and there is a lot of competition. We will ask him for other things."

With Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara absent due to injury, there was also a first senior call-up for Koke's Atletico team-mate Marcos Llorente, and Luis Enrique backed him to make an impact.

He added: "Llorente is a very complete player, I will ask him where he is most comfortable. He is very versatile.

"He has scored goals, [got] assists, is powerful, well-equipped technically. He is eager to see what he can offer us.

"There are players who are not included due to injury, but it opens up the opportunity to see others. It is an interesting situation for me, to prepare for three very interesting games."

Alvaro Morata and Koke have been recalled to the Spain squad, while Marcos Llorente has earned a first senior call-up.

La Roja have been short of in-form central strikers in recent months but Morata has enjoyed a strong start to the season with Juventus, scoring six goals in seven appearances in all competitions, including three in his past two games.

Morata's last appearance for Spain was in a 5-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Romania in November 2019.

Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke has also returned, having last played for his country in a 4-1 friendly defeat of Wales more than two years ago.

Team-mate Marcos Llorente has earned his first call-up, while Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara is out due to problems with a knee injury and Arsenal's Dani Ceballos has been omitted.

With Diego Llorente injured, Inigo Martinez returns, as does Fabian Ruiz. Rodrigo Moreno is left out after testing positive for coronavirus this week.

Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga keeps his place despite having lost his starting spot under Frank Lampard to new signing Edouard Mendy.

Spain face the Netherlands in a friendly on Wednesday, before Nations League clashes with Switzerland and Germany.

Spain squad:

Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea), David de Gea (Manchester United), Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao); Sergi Roberto (Barcelona), Jesus Navas (Sevilla), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Eric Garcia (Manchester City), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Inigo Martinez (Athletic Bilbao), Jose Gaya (Valencia), Sergio Reguilon (Tottenham); Rodri (Manchester City), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Fabian Ruiz (Napoli), Sergio Canales (Real Betis), Mikel Merino (Real Sociedad), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Marcos Llorente (Atletico Madrid); Adama Traore (Wolves), Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig), Ferran Torres (Manchester City), Gerard Moreno (Villarreal), Alvaro Morata (Juventus), Ansu Fati (Barcelona), Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad).

Koke has challenged Atletico Madrid to hit the ground running when the LaLiga season resumes, meaning they will have to quickly get used to playing behind closed doors.

On Monday it was announced top-flight clubs in Spain can go back to training this week for individual sessions as part of a staggered return following the coronavirus pandemic.

The season has been on hold since early March, though the target is for fixtures to be played again in June. LaLiga chief Javier Tebas has said "the return of football is a sign that society is progressing to the new normal" following the impact of COVID-19 on the country.

Atletico last played on March 11, when they triumphed 3-2 at Anfield to knock holders Liverpool out of the Champions League, with Koke hoping they can quickly get up to speed again.

"We are preparing at home trying not to lose too much intensity, or too much strength," the Atleti captain said in a media conference staged by the club. "What we will lose the most is the work with the ball. 

"When we start individual training and then with the rest of the group we will be taking it little by little. 

"It is a mini-season after we've come from competing at the highest level in Liverpool. We have to prepare in the best way and not think that it is a pre-season.

"This has been a break to start strong for the remainder of the season."

Atleti face a battle to secure a top-four finish this season; they sit in sixth place in the table, albeit only a point behind fourth-placed Real Sociedad with 11 rounds remaining in the 2019-20 campaign.

However, with games set to be staged behind closed doors, Diego Simeone's squad will not have the added bonus of their fans being present inside the Wanda Metropolitano – something Koke admitted will be "odd".

"It seems that we are going to play without an audience," the Spain international said.

"Playing at home without our people is going to be odd because they are always supportive, especially in the most difficult moments. 

"Hopefully it will be as short [a time] as possible [without them] and wherever they are, we will feel your support."

Atletico Madrid flew flags at half-mast on Sunday in honour of former defender Jose Luis Capon and youth team player Christian Minchola.

Capon, who won Spanish league titles with Atletico in 1973 and 1977 and the 1976 Copa del Rey during a 10-year spell at the club, died at the age of 72.

His passing came just 24 hours after the death of 14-year-old Minchola – a member of the club's youth team.

"Today is a sad day for the rojiblanca family," the club said in a statement.

"Atletico de Madrid is in mourning for the death of our former player Jose Luis Capon Gonzalez. The former rojiblanco defender died at the age of 72 in his hometown.

"To remember Capon, the flag honouring our fans located in the Wanda Metropolitano will fly at half-mast for 24 hours in honour of our legendary player.

"With the departure of Capon, the Atletico family loses another of the symbols that gave everything for this club on and off the pitch. From the club, the president, chief executive officer and our board offer their sincere condolences to all his family and friends."

Commenting on the death of Minchola, the cause of which has not been revealed, head coach Diego Simeone said: "With all my heart I send my condolences to Christian's family and friends. Rest in peace."

Club captain Koke added: "Anger and pain for having to say goodbye to Christian Minchola. Life is very unfair.

"Proud that you wore this shirt. Much encouragement to colleagues, family and friends. Rest in peace."

Atletico Madrid captain Koke said Joao Felix can fulfil his enormous potential if he listens to Diego Simeone and his team-mates after making a goalscoring return from injury.

Joao Felix had been sidelined since January due to a muscle injury but Atletico's record signing came off the bench and scored in Sunday's 3-1 LaLiga victory over Villarreal.

The 20-year-old attacker arrived from Benfica in a €126million deal at the start of the season and has scored five goals across all competitions.

"Everyone can see what is expected of Joao, he's a young boy and he has lots of room for improvement," Koke said post-match.

"Many great players have had to adapt to Atletico and it's not easy, he's young.

"If he listens to the boss and his team-mates, he will be the player that everyone wants to see.

"He's not been lucky with injuries, but I'm sure that, in the future, we'll see the Joao we want to see."

Atletico came from behind in the Spanish capital, where Simeone's side trailed to Paco Alcacer's 16th-minute opener at Wanda Metropolitano.

Angel Correa, Koke and Joao Felix led the comeback as Atletico moved up to third in LaLiga, behind leaders Barcelona and city rivals Real Madrid.

"Speaking about Koke, our captain, our talisman and one of our longest-serving players [with] Saul [Niguez], [Jose] Gimenez, Thomas [Partey]," Simeone said.

"He knows what we're looking for, a tactical condition that lots of players don't have and a pass that seems slow but he knows where he is.

"He can play on the right, in the middle. He and Saul are the ones who can play in any position."

Simeone paired Correa with Alvaro Morata up front and the Atletico head coach added: "The two worked very well, they have lots of strength in their feet to go out and press people. Morata did a very good job and Correa is in fantastic form. We're very happy with the competition for places.

"The return of [Kieran] Trippier, Joao Felix... [Yannick] Carrasco is getting better, [Sime Vrsaljko] is very strong, Vitolo had a great game and the substitutes brought fresh legs."

Atletico Madrid came from behind to beat Villarreal 3-1 and move into third place in LaLiga, with Joao Felix scoring on his return from injury.

Suspended head coach Diego Simeone watched on from the stands as his players took full advantage of Getafe's 3-0 home defeat to Sevilla earlier on Sunday.

Goals from Angel Correa and Koke turned the game in Atletico's favour at the Wanda Metropolitano, cancelling out Paco Alcacer's first-half opener for the visitors.

A satisfying outing for the hosts was rounded off by a goal from Joao Felix, who found the net just 17 minutes after coming on as a substitute.

Fresh from a Champions League win over Liverpool in midweek, Atletico dominated the opening 15 minutes but were powerless to stop Alcacer's rasping half-volley from the edge of the box, the attempt flying into the net beyond Jan Oblak at full stretch.

Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo made a superb double save to keep out a fierce volley from Alvaro Morata at first, followed by Vitolo's header from the rebound.

The visitors rediscovered their composure until the 40th minute when Raul Albiol inexplicably headed the ball to the feet of Sime Vrsaljko, allowing the full-back to lift the ball towards Correa, who poked a volley under the body of Asenjo to pull the hosts level.

Atletico sent on Kieran Trippier and Joao Felix – the duo back in action after recovering from injuries - to try and exploit the gaps appearing in the Villarreal defence, with both players making an impact.

Trippier broke down the Atletico right before cutting the ball back to Correa, whose floated cross was headed home by Koke after the captain arrived unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box.

Joao Felix wrapped up the victory, albeit his drive was aided by a deflection to beat Asenjo, as the 20-year-old scored his third league goal of an up-and-down debut campaign in Spain.

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