Simeone rues Atletico injuries as Joao Felix ruled out for the season

By Sports Desk April 19, 2022

Diego Simeone rued Atletico Madrid's injury problems ahead of Wednesday's clash with Granada after Joao Felix was ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Atletico saw their hopes of a top-four finish in LaLiga dealt a blow on Monday when the Portuguese forward announced his season is over after picking up a hamstring injury. 

The 22-year-old has scored eight league goals in 24 games, but just 13 starts for Simeone's team in LaLiga this season, his best return since making a big-money move from Benfica in 2019.

But after going off injured at the halfway point of Atletico's 2-1 win over Espanyol last time out, he will be unable to add to his 10 goals and five assists in all competitions this term, joining the likes of Thomas Lemar on a growing injury list.

Simeone said those injuries have come at a "bad time" as his team look to ensure Champions League qualification for next season, noting Joao Felix was in a "great moment" before sustaining the blow.

"We have lost them [Joao Felix and Lemar], and [Hector] Herrera and Jose [Gimenez] are waiting to join the group, we hope they do so after this match," Simeone told his pre-match press conference. 

"We lost Joao, who was in a great moment, with games, playing in continuity, [it was going] very well for his growth and play, [and] Lemar always gives us something different, in that defence to attack transition.

"It's a shame. They are injuries that come to us at a bad time, but I have other boys waiting to play and everyone is up to the task of continuing to compete as we have been lately."

Last month, the Portugal international became the third-youngest striker to reach 50 appearances in LaLiga for Atletico (aged 20 years and 120 days), after Sergio Aguero (19 years and 162 days) and Fernando Torres (19 years and 310 days).

The forward pledged to "come back stronger" when announcing the news of his injury on social media on Monday evening. 

"Unfortunately, the news is not what I expected, and it is with deep sadness that I find myself unable to help my team in what remains to be played this season," the 22-year-old said in an Instagram post.

"Now I can only support Atleti from the outside, and work hard on my recovery to come back stronger."

Atletico are fourth in LaLiga, leading fifth-placed Real Betis by three points ahead of their home clash against Granada, with Simeone's men winning each of their last four home league games, their longest winning streak at the Wanda Metropolitano this term. 

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