Diego Simeone paid tribute to his Atletico Madrid players after overcoming numerous obstacles in their chaotic 4-3 LaLiga win over Getafe on Saturday.

The two teams played out an especially remarkable first half, which included six goals and a missed penalty by Luis Suarez.

Atletico were initially 2-0 up but then found themselves 3-2 down, with Borja Mayoral and a pair of Enes Unal penalties doing the damage.

Angel Correa got his second of the day just before the break to level the score, but Atletico received another blow when Felipe was sent off for a high and wild challenge on Mauro Arambarri.

The drama did not end there, however. Just when Atletico looked happy to play out for a draw, three substitutes linked up.

Rodrigo De Paul's deep free-kick was headed back across goal by Joao Felix, and Mario Hermoso was on hand to acrobatically turn in at the second time of asking.

Simeone struggled to make sense of the epic encounter but did praise Atletico's response.

"It's difficult to explain a match that had several mini-matches in it," he told reporters. "If you value how many times they've had a shot on goal, they are very few.

"There are times when adversity has to be overcome and once again those moments appeared: the missed penalty, going from 2-0 up to 3-2 down, and then the red card gave us a difficult match.

"Once again the hearts of the boys responded in an extraordinary way. Those who came on, De Paul, [Hector] Herrera, Joao... did so with a passion that was what we needed."

 

But while the dramatic nature of such a victory led to joyous scenes and took them back up to fourth, the match once again highlighted Atletico's defensive issues.

Two penalties were conceded for handball; Mayoral reacted quicker than the defence for his goal; and Felipe's red card came as a direct consequence of Stefan Savic's heavy touch just inside his own half.

It was the sixth successive game in which Atletico have conceded at least twice, while the three concessions took their overall LaLiga tally for 2021-22 to 33 – that surpassed their previous worst record for an entire season under Simeone (31 in 2012-13).

Yet Simeone did not seem overly concerned – at least not in the context of this match.

"The first goal is a good play for them, but the two subsequent penalties… there were no threatening plays. If you're looking for a save from Oblak, there wasn't any," he said.

"Hopefully we are already passing this situation of adversity."

Mario Hermoso was 10-man Atletico Madrid's hero as the defender scored a dramatic late winner in Saturday's chaotic 4-3 derby win over Getafe.

A manic match looked to be petering out until Hermoso – who attracted much criticism for his performance against Barcelona last week – showed Atletico's character despite being down to 10 men.

An astonishing first half saw Atletico charge into a 2-0 lead through Angel Correa and Matheus Cunha after Luis Suarez's early penalty miss, only for Getafe to turn the game on its head thanks to Borja Mayoral's poacher's effort and a pair of Enes Unal spot-kicks.

Correa made it 3-3 just before the interval, but the hosts suffered another blow in the second half as Felipe was shown a straight red for a wild challenge.

At that point a draw looked a reasonable result for Atletico, but substitute Hermoso popped up late on to spark bedlam at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Barcelona will appeal the red card shown to Dani Alves during their 4-2 win over Atletico Madrid in LaLiga on Sunday. 

Alves was shown a straight red card in the 69th minute following a VAR review after he caught Yannick Carrasco in the calf with his studs. 

The Royal Spanish Football Federation's (RFEF) competition committee announced on Wednesday that the veteran right-back had been handed a two-game ban because he "would not have had the opportunity to have won the ball" with his tackle. 

That would rule him out of the Catalan derby against Espanyol on Sunday, as well as the trip to Valencia the following week. 

However, Barca confirmed they would contest the decision with the appeals committee in the hope of having the suspension reduced. 

Karim Benzema leads the LaLiga scoring charts this term with 17 goals.

But Real Madrid are set to revamp their attacking options if transfer speculation is true.

Benzema turned 34 in December and is contracted until 2023.

TOP STORY – BENZEMA CONCERN ON MADRID FUTURE

Madrid top scorer Benzema has requested a meeting with president Florentino Perez over concerns on his future with Erling Haaland's potential addition, reports Onze.

Los Blancos are set to be bolstered by forwardKylian Mbappe's arrival in the off-season to form an attacking trio alongside Benzema and Vinicius Junior.

But Haaland's potential move from Borussia Dortmund has left Benzema fearing he may lose his spot.

ROUND-UP 

- Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is being lined up by Bayern Munich as their ideal replacement for Niklas Sule, claims Fichajes. Sule has confirmed his exit to Borussia Dortmund for next season.

- Juventus have a new plan ahead of fresh contract talks with Paulo Dybala, according to Calciomercato. Dybala is unsigned beyond this season.

- Manchester United and Brazilian giants Flamengo have agreed to a £12m fee for the permanent sale of Andreas Pereira, reports Universo.

- Atletico Madrid, who are looking to replace the departed Kieran Trippier, are set to make a €30m offer for Aston Villa full-back Matty Cash, claims Mundo Deportivo.

- Calciomercato reports that Milan still have an eye on Club Brugge's Dutch talent Noa Lang.

Diego Simeone accepted Atletico Madrid have to improve defensively after shipping four goals to Barcelona, but suggested Sunday's loss was equally down to his side's lack of cutting edge.

Atletico let an early lead slip as they lost 4-2 in a thrilling game at Camp Nou and dropped to fifth in LaLiga, two points behind opponents Barca in the final Champions League spot.

The reigning Spanish champions have now conceded 30 goals in 22 top-flight matches this season, which is already five more than in 38 matches last term.

It is just the third time Atleti have conceded four or more goals under Simeone in the league, with the first such occasion coming in December 2012 in a 4-1 loss to Barcelona.

Normally famed for their defensive solidity, Simeone admitted his side have not been good enough at the back this season.

"We've been defending well for 10 years but this year we have to improve. We don't have the necessary focus on defensive actions," he said.

"We haven't changed many players, except for [Kieran] Trippier, who left. They are playing the same ones that last year responded at a high level. 

"[Jose Maria] Gimenez and [Stefan] Savic have missed several games, but this time they played and we conceded four. 

"What counts is to work, try to improve and face the week with humility and push until the end."

 

Yannick Carrasco gave Atleti an early lead, but Jordi Alba's excellent volley, Gavi's header and a Ronald Araujo strike put Barca in control by half-time.

Dani Alves blasted in a fourth before later being sent off, at which point Luis Suarez had pulled one back against his former club, but Atletico's fightback ended there.

Simeone's side ended the match with an expected goals (xG) value of 1.21, compared to just 0.63 for Barcelona.

Indeed, that 3.37 differential between xG and actual goals scored is the biggest in a single LaLiga game this season of any team.

"I look at games in terms of scoring situations," Simeone said. "In the first half, Barca had four chances and scored three times; Atletico had four chances and scored once.

"The forcefulness of a side guarantees everything. Barca's forcefulness prevailed in the end.

"We started well, controlling possession and creating space for the forward players, who had chances. But beyond possession and counter-attacks, the most forceful team wins.

"In the second half we became more aggressive and intense. At 4-2 there was a feeling we could get into the game, but Barca defended low and we had fewer opportunities."

In a further blow for Simeone, it was confirmed after the game that new signing Daniel Wass suffered a torsion in his right knee and will undergo further tests on Monday.

On a day to forget for Atletico all-round, centre-back Savic – whose five interceptions was more than double that of any other player on the field – urged his team-mates to quickly pick themselves up.

"There is a lot of the season left and we are going to fight. We're worried about conceding so many goals, the number of them. Now we can only work and raise our heads," he told Movistar Plus.

"We wait to be behind to start playing. I don't know if it's a mental issue, but we have to change it if we want to be in the Champions League next year.

"Sometimes you work and things don't work out. We must keep going."

Xavi felt Barcelona were "perfect" before Dani Alves' sending off in Sunday's 4-2 defeat of Atletico Madrid.

The Blaugrana fell behind early on to Yannick Carrasco's well-worked opener, but the home side quickly hit back and soon found themselves 2-1 up.

Jordi Alba's spectacular sliced volley levelled it up, before Gavi headed in debutant Adama Traore's cross – Ronald Araujo made it 3-1 just before the break, and Alves drilled home early in the second half.

Barca looked to be cruising to an emphatic win, though Luis Suarez scored against his former club and then Alves was shown a straight red for scraping his studs down the calf of Carrasco to become the first player to score and get sent off for the club in a single LaLiga game since at least 2004-05.

There was certainly a degree of fortune to Barca's victory, with their expected goals (xG) of 0.6 only half that of Atletico's 1.2.

 

Similarly, their difference between goals and xG was the highest in a LaLiga game this term, highlighting just how impressive some of Barca's finishes were.

Nevertheless, Xavi was delighted with his team's showing prior to Alves' red, with the win taking Barca above Atletico and into fourth.

"Before Alves was sent off, the game was perfect," he said. "We had to go back a bit [after the red], but the first 60 minutes represents the Barca that we all love.

"When we had 11 men, we were very good. We had worked with the 3-4-3 and the 3-5-2.

"We showed solidarity after the expulsion, we defended the area well and we haven't suffered too much."

While victory puts Barca fourth and two points clear of Atletico, Xavi is not getting ahead of himself.

"You have to be humble," he added. "It's an important victory, against the champions. We fell behind and were then patient.

"I think we've played 60 very good minutes, but we have to continue."

Barcelona produced arguably the most impressive performance of Xavi's tenure as the Blaugrana made something of a statement in their 4-2 defeat of Atletico Madrid.

Diego Simeone brought up Xavi's past criticism of Atletico's style of play in the build-up, though the latter had the last laugh at Camp Nou as Barca replaced Los Colchoneros in fourth.

The visitors did enjoy a promising start with Yannick Carrasco's well-worked opener eight minutes in, but Barca were soon ahead thanks to Jordi Alba's excellent volley and a Gavi header.

Ronald Araujo increased Barca's lead just before half-time and Dani Alves blasted in a fourth for his first goal since his return.

Luis Suarez pulled one back against his former club and Alves was dismissed, but Barca went on to claim a deserved win.

Atletico led in style as Suarez latched onto Koke's excellent pass and fed Carrasco into the box, with the Belgian sweeping his first-time finish into the bottom-left corner.

They were pegged back just two minutes later when Dani Alves crossed to the left and Jordi Alba met it with a spectacular sliced volley that spun high into the far corner of the net.

Another Barca cross proved decisive soon after as the hosts went in front, debutant Adama Traore seeing his pinpoint delivery nodded in by Gavi.

Araujo then made it 3-1 late in the half, smashing in from close range after Ferran Torres headed Alves' free-kick onto the crossbar.

Alves became the fourth-oldest player to score in LaLiga this century early in the second half, drilling home from Alba's cut-back.

Barca were made to suffer as Suarez headed in and Alves was sent off for scraping his studs down Carrasco's calf, but Atletico could not salvage a result.

 

What does it mean? Advantage Barcelona in top-four race

The title is all but out of reach for both Barca and Atletico, meaning securing Champions League football is the priority.

While it is not beyond the realms of possibility that both could finish in the top four, victory for Barca here is certainly a significant boost – and the opposite is true for Atletico, who drop to fifth.

In previous years, one might be inclined to back Atletico in such a race, but they have been so poor defensively that it is difficult to be so optimistic.

Traore makes a statement

Many were a bit surprised by Barca's desire to bring Traore back to the club given he was not even a starter at Wolves, but he did show just how much of an impact he can have. He had a role in Barca's first goal and then set up the second with an excellent cross. Beyond that, his carries caused problems in the Atletico defence, and such an explosive player could be invaluable for a Barca side that has often looked short of invention.

Alves' moment of madness

The veteran Brazilian right-back was excellent for much of the game, setting up Alba's volley and getting a lovely goal of his own, but his decision to scrape his studs down Carrasco's calf made no sense and was asking for a red card. That put Barca under pressure – luckily for him, they got the job done.

What's next?

Barca have the local derby with Espanyol to look forward to next Sunday. Atletico host nearby Getafe the day before.

Xavi hopes Atletico Madrid's Luis Suarez receives a standing ovation from Barcelona's supporters on Sunday, as he ranked the Uruguayan alongside Samuel Eto'o as "the best modern-day Barca centre forward".

Suarez left Barca – in frustrating circumstances for the former Liverpool star and his close friend Lionel Messi – in 2020, with then-coach Ronald Koeman having deemed him surplus to requirements.

Barca's decision backfired as Suarez went on to propel Atleti to their second LaLiga title under Diego Simeone, scoring 21 top-flight goals last season.

The 35-year-old scored 198 goals for Barca between 2014 and 2020, netting once every 120 minutes, and said he was "disrespected" by the club when they decided to ship him out.

Xavi played alongside Suarez in his first season at Camp Nou, and believes the forward must be categorised as a modern-day great at Barca.

"I think he deserves a standing ovation," Xavi said of Suarez in a news conference previewing Sunday's clash with Atleti.

"The best modern-day Barca centre forward, with Eto'o. He has been great. You have to welcome him with honour. 

"The pity is that he couldn't leave with a great tribute because of COVID."

 

Antoine Griezmann could well partner Suarez up top, with the France attacker returning to his parent club. 

Griezmann has played more LaLiga games for Atleti against Barcelona without scoring than any other opponent (11).

Xavi, meanwhile, is facing Atleti for the first time as a coach. As a player, he lost none of his last eight appearances against Los Rojiblancos in the competition (W6 D2).

Barca would move above Atleti should they win, though if Atleti triumph, Diego Simeone will surpass Slovakian Ferdinand Daucik (234) for the most LaLiga victories by a non-Spanish manager in the competition's history.

Asked for his thoughts on Simeone's style of play, Xavi said: "It wouldn't be Barca's style, it wouldn't fit in, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have merit and isn't competitive. 

"People wouldn't understand if we were defensive. They win and it's legal to play like that, but it's not my style. It doesn't mean I don't admire him. Cholo is a great coach, it's not a criticism."

Barca are well adrift of LaLiga leaders Real Madrid, and Xavi understands that his priority is securing Champions League qualification.

"At the moment I want to enter the Champions League and then I don't rule anything out knowing the difficulty," he said. "We are 15 points down with one game in hand. We have to be realists."

Xavi believes Ousmane Dembele can still be a useful player for Barcelona for the remainder of the season, despite the winger's refusal to agree a new deal.

Barca insisted last month that Dembele would be sold before the transfer window's deadline after the 24-year-old turned down the club's latest contract offer.

Dembele, signed from Borussia Dortmund for an initial €105million in 2017 following Neymar's departure to Paris Saint-Germain, has struggled with injuries since his move to Camp Nou.

He has played just six times in LaLiga this season and in just over half of Barca's league games since his arrival four-and-a-half years ago.

Dembele has managed 31 goals and 22 assists in 129 appearances since his debut in September 2017, meaning he has been directly involved in 0.63 goals per 90 minutes. That puts him on a par with Kingsley Coman and Anthony Martial among wingers from Europe's top five leagues, and just behind Liverpool star Sadio Mane (0.64).

In his sole season at Dortmund, Dembele created 100 chances in all competitions, scoring 10 goals.

 

Xavi made it clear upon his arrival as coach last year that he saw Dembele as a key player for the future of the club, but the France international is now into the last five months of his deal.

PSG seemed set to sign him late in the January window, but that move did not go ahead, while there is also rumoured interest from the Premier League.

However, Barca and Dembele have now decided to put their differences to one side and Xavi insisted it would be a foolish move to omit him from the squad.

"Well, we haven't found a solution for Dembele," he told a news conference ahead of Sunday's clash with reigning LaLiga champions Atletico Madrid, for which Dembele was included in the squad alongside new arrivals Adama Traore and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

"The situation is as it was a month ago, he hasn't signed a contract. We had a meeting with the president. We have all met and we have decided that he is part of the squad. We cannot shoot ourselves in the foot.

"He's a player for Barca. We have to use him, he can help us, he has been a good professional when he has been involved or not, so that's the club’s decision. We will use him. I think he can be useful, he's part of the team."

Asked if he is concerned about the reaction of the fans to Dembele, Xavi said: "I understand the fans if they are hurt, but we have to close ranks for the good of the team. He is training well.

"He is a club player and his commitment is clear. His commitment is impeccable."

Another Barca player in talks over a renewal is centre-back Ronald Araujo, and Xavi is eager to tie the 22-year-old down.

"Yes, it is a priority. It is a reality and it gives us a lot," he said. "A very popular person in the locker room. It is a priority operation."

Xavi also confirmed that both Traore, re-signed on loan from Wolves, and Aubameyang, who has joined essentially as a free agent after cutting ties with Arsenal, are in contention to face Atleti.

"Both of them have trained well. Probably Adama is in a better shape. Auba has had COVID-19, so he was working individually [before leaving Arsenal], so we will decide," Xavi said.

"They are excited and we also want to see them in the squad. Two great signings.

"We have reinforced ourselves well and let's see how far we get. There is a good atmosphere and a good group."

Erling Haaland remains tight-lipped on his plans for his future.

The 21-year-old Norway forward has drawn widespread interest after two outstanding years at Borussia Dortmund.

Haaland appears destined to exit BVB later this year but has a decision to make.

TOP STORY – BARCELONA LOOMS AS HAALAND'S PREFERRED MOVE

Haaland is holding off on a decision on his club future to see if Barcelona can raise the required €360million to put together a package for the striker, reports the Daily Star.

The report claims Borussia Dortmund representatives believe Barcelona is Haaland's preferred destination.

The 21-year-old also has interest from Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea .

 

ROUND-UP

- CBS Sports claims Saudi Arabia's  Al Nassr  have lodged a final bid for Arsenal outcast  Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang , with the deal matching his Gunners salary and including a break clause after 12 months that would allow him to return to Europe. Gerard Romero claims  Barcelona have reached an agreement with Arsenal to sign Aubameyang, although the Blaugrana must offload Ousmane Dembele  first.

- Atletico Madrid are unwilling to allow Alvaro Morata to join rivals Barcelona ,   claims Sport. Morata is on loan at Juventus from Atletico amid talk of a switch to the Blaugrana, with Arsenal , Newcastle United and Tottenham also linked to the Spain striker.

Dejan Kulusevski  is set to be loaned from Juventus to  Tottenham ,   with the two clubs in advanced talks on a deal, according to Fabrizio Romano. The deal would include an option to buy.

- The Daily Star reports likely new Everton manager Frank Lampard will block  Dominic Calvert-Lewin 's proposed move to  Arsenal .

- Goal claims top-four hopefuls  West Ham  have made dual bids for Leeds United pair  Kalvin Phillips  and  Raphinha . The Sun claims the Hammers' bid for Phillips is worth £50m.

Atletico Madrid have confirmed the signing of utility player Daniel Wass from fellow LaLiga side Valencia on an 18-month contract.

The Denmark international, who was due to become a free agent at the end of the season, is reported to have cost Atletico €2.7million plus add-ons.

Diego Simeone's side confirmed the transfer on their official website on Thursday, making the Brondby youth product their first signing of the January window.

Wass is comfortable playing in a number of positions, including at right-back, where Atleti have been looking to recruit following Kieran Trippier's move to Newcastle United.

After three years at Celta Vigo, Wass made the switch to Valencia in July 2018 and featured 152 times – at least 12 times more than any other player for the club over that time.

Used predominantly in central midfield this term, the 32-year-old scored one goal and assisted another in 19 LaLiga starts for Los Che.

Wass has also been capped 41 times by his national side and played in five of Denmark's six matches en route to the semi-finals of Euro 2020 last year.

Kieran Trippier has confirmed he attracted "strong interest" from Manchester United last year before returning to the Premier League with Newcastle United.

Trippier swapped a LaLiga title defence with Atletico Madrid for a relegation battle with Newcastle this month, with the England full-back joining Eddie Howe's side for a reported fee of £12million.

The 31-year-old spent two-and-a-half seasons at Atleti after leaving Tottenham in 2019, helping Diego Simeone's side clinch a LaLiga title last year.

There were reports since early in 2021 that Trippier wished to return to England, and United were heavily linked.

Trippier has now confirmed that United and Atleti held discussions before the 2021-22 season, after England's run to the final of Euro 2020, but the potential move broke down over the Spanish club's demand that his release clause, reported at around £50m (€60m), was met.

"After the Euros, there was really strong interest," Trippier told Newcastle great Alan Shearer in an interview with The Athletic.

"I've got to be careful what I say because I don't want to get into trouble, but yeah, there was interest. We had conversations, but Atletico Madrid just wanted my release clause and it was a lot of money for a 30-year-old, so I understand why Man United didn't do that.

"There were other clubs interested too. Anyway, it's gone now, so it doesn't bother me."

Trippier hopes Simeone, who has established himself as one of world football's leading coaches during his decade-long stint at Atleti, follows him from LaLiga to the Premier League.

"I'd love to see him working in England. I know he was learning English about a year ago, and his partner speaks English," Trippier said.

"The thing about Simeone is that because he's so passionate when he's talking in the dressing room, I think it would get to him if he wasn't completely fluent. But I would love to see him in the Premier League. I think everyone would."

 

Simeone's pragmatic approach has sometimes come in for criticism, but there can be no doubting its success.

"It's a bit unfair, because Simeone has been so successful. He's won eight trophies," Trippier added, before referring to a comment Jurgen Klopp made about Atleti not playing "proper football" after Liverpool's defeat to Los Colchoneros in the 2019-20 Champions League knockout stage.

"I understand where Klopp is coming from, but if you're playing at Anfield you can't go toe-to-toe with [Liverpool] because you'll get punished.

"Everybody has their own system or set-up and Simeone's is different. It's worked for him."

Trippier's decision to leave Tottenham came after Mauricio Pochettino's side had reached the 2019 Champions League final, losing to Liverpool - ironically, at Atleti's Wanda Metropolitano stadium.

The former Burnley defender enjoyed a fine 2018 World Cup, but felt his form dropped off slightly afterwards. However, he also hit out at Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, who he claims was engineering a sale while the season was ongoing.

"f you look back to the last few months of my Tottenham career, I admit that I wasn't at the levels that I was at the World Cup and there's no excuse," he said.

"After the Champions League final, it felt like the right time to move on.

"What annoyed me, I know 100 per cent for a fact – and this is what I was most angry about – that two months before the end of the season, Daniel was offering me to other clubs.

"I knew for certain that was happening, so I knew my time there must be up. I was playing for my team-mates and the supporters, but I also knew I wasn't wanted."

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez "cannot understand" why players are being forced to play so many fixtures in such a congested period.

South American nations are playing two World Cup qualifiers over the coming days, after FIFA inserted an extra international break into the calendar.

European countries are not in action, but CONMEBOL are attempting to catch up on fixtures missed due to the coronavirus pandemic and last year's Copa America.

Uruguay are one of five teams separated by just two points in the qualification standings, but have lost their past four games by an aggregate of 11-1.

They travel to Paraguay on Thursday, before hosting Venezuela on February 1. However, that second game comes just two days before a crucial Copa del Rey tie for Real Madrid, and Federico Valverde is set to travel back to Spain for that match.

Three other players, Getafe trio Mathias Olivera, Damian Suarez and Mauro Arambarri, could well have to be involved in a LaLiga match on February 4, while Suarez's Atletico Madrid are in action against his former club Barcelona on February 6.

It is a situation that leaves Suarez frustrated.

"I have to speak about the physical part of being a human being as well as a sportsman," he told reporters.

"We cannot understand how it is that we will compete in a World Cup qualifier next Tuesday and that Pajarito [Valverde] in this case, will have to compete in a Copa del Rey match.

"That my colleagues from Getafe, Mauro, Damian and Mati, will have to play that Friday in a LaLiga match. The schedule is quite tight, but we have to adapt to it.

"We are professionals and will do our job on the pitch because that is demanded from us, but sometimes the players are not in other people's thoughts.

"It happened before when we played three qualifiers in 10 days, with long trips of more than 12-15 hours, and obviously fatigue then has an influence."

Suarez, however, insists the squad's full focus is on arresting their dismal form and pushing on to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar this year.

He said: "There are players who go through different stages of both winning and losing streaks. But when you come into the national team, the games that you have been playing suddenly do not matter.

"What matters is the hunger to compete, the wish to live and feel what I feel with this shirt on and to keep demonstrating that I am prevailing and that I want to keep competing and have the burning ambition to make it to the World Cup.

"I've been lucky enough to have played in three World Cups already and now, at 35 years old, I want to continue with that same ambition and I wish to keep playing World Cups and to have the chance to play at my fourth World Cup. Because of that, I am here."

Atletico Madrid have announced that goalkeeper Jan Oblak has tested positive for coronavirus.

The Slovenia international, Atletico's most used player this season, will now serve a period of self-isolation.

However, with a 12-day gap until Atleti travel to Barcelona for their next LaLiga outing, the 29-year-old is not expected to miss any matches.

A statement on the Spanish side's official website on Tuesday read: "Jan Oblak has tested positive for COVID-19. 

"Our goalkeeper remains isolated, strictly complying with the recommendations of the health authorities."

Oblak's 30 starts in all competitions this term is bettered by only two others – Jose Fonte and Antonio Rudiger (both 31) – among players from Europe's top five leagues.

He has conceded 26 goals in 21 LaLiga games this season from an expected goals (xG) against return of 18.46, with that negative 7.54 differential the worst in the division.

The 38 goals Oblak has conceded in all competitions this term across his 30 appearances is two more than he shipped in 46 games last time out.

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone lavished praise on his side for their fighting performance after netting two stoppage-time goals to win 3-2 over Valencia on Saturday.

Simeone's side appeared destined for a third consecutive defeat in all competitions after Yunus Musah and Hugo Duro had put the visitors two goals up at the interval.

Matheus Cunha reduced the deficit in the 64th minute, before added-time strikes from Angel Correa and Mario Hermoso secured a remarkable victory.

“At half time I spoke to the players, I told them what I felt and I have transmitted in recent years, 'if we have to lose we lose with pride'," Simeone told reporters.

“The team left their soul out there, they left their lives on the pitch. There are nights that remain with you and this one is going to stay with us."

He added: "It was a fantastic second half. We were ourselves. Watching that second half, I felt: this is us."

Atleti had collected just four points from the previous 18 available in LaLiga, with the win boosting their lagging top-four aspirations.

Simeone was almost reduced to tears on the touchline after Hermoso's winner as the Spanish champions firmed up fourth spot, three points clear of fifth-placed Real Sociedad.

"What did I feel? That it's marvellous, this place I'm in," Simeone said. "Whenever it feels like it might be going, I want to hold on even tighter. In the first half, my heart hurt."

The result saw Atletico become just the second LaLiga team in the 21st century to come from behind to win a game with two goals in added time, after Betis did so – also against Valencia - in December 2011.

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