Playing Copa del Rey clash won't be punishment for Joao Felix – Simeone

By Sports Desk January 22, 2020

Diego Simeone insists Joao Felix should not take it as a punishment if he is selected to face third-tier side Cultural Leonesa in the Copa del Rey on Thursday.

Joao Felix, 20, joined Atletico for €126million in pre-season as the club looked to fill the void left by Antoine Griezmann's departure to Barcelona.

But the Portugal international has struggled to make an impact in LaLiga, getting two goals and one assist in 16 appearances.

He played 83 minutes of Atletico's 2-0 defeat to Eibar on Saturday but was again disappointing, hitting the target with only one of his three shots and failing to produce a single chance.

Simeone will be expected to rotate his squad for the trip to Segunda B2 promotion-chasers Cultural on Thursday, though he does not think playing in the match should be considered a negative for any of his first-team stars.

"I do not expect that [thought] - thinking that playing can be a punishment is to not value it," Simeone told reporters in his pre-match news conference.

"Everyone can be asked [to play]. It's not a punishment. Playing any game for Atletico Madrid is a dream, and whoever has to play, I hope they can get the minutes to develop in the best possible way."

Atletico have been strongly linked with Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani and media reports suggest an offer has even been submitted.

Simeone batted away questions relating to the Uruguay international, quickly changing the subject to the clash with Cultural.

"The only thing that worries me is the Copa del Rey match," he replied when told Cavani's relatives apparently want him to join Atletico.

"We live for the day-to-day and the results. The players who are not with us, they already know me, I don't usually think much about it."

Related items

  • Rennes star has time on his side – could Camavinga be Casemiro's deputy at Real Madrid? Rennes star has time on his side – could Camavinga be Casemiro's deputy at Real Madrid?

    With Real Madrid reportedly eyeing Eduardo Camavinga, could the Rennes midfielder prove a fine deputy to Casemiro?

    Camavinga, 17, is said to have attracted interest from Europe's biggest clubs, including Madrid.

    Marca reported on Sunday that the teenage midfielder was a preference for Madrid as coach Zinedine Zidane wants to avoid being too reliant on 28-year-old Casemiro.

    Camavinga would surely not be expected to match Casemiro immediately, but rather provide Zidane with a back-up option while learning from the 46-time Brazil international.

    Using Opta data, we take a look at how Camavinga and Casemiro compare in Ligue 1 and LaLiga respectively this season.

     

    Casemiro busy for busier Madrid

    Casemiro and Camavinga have each made 25 league appearances this season, although the former has played 108 more minutes.

    Yet, while Camavinga narrowly edges Casemiro for passing accuracy (87.7 to 83.8), including more notably in the opposition half (83.3 to 78.8), the Madridista has played 1,521 passes to the Angola-born midfielder's 975. That includes making 379 into the final third, compared to Camavinga's 141. Those numbers must also be put into perspective with Madrid averaging 58.2 per cent possession in LaLiga this season, while third-placed Rennes have averaged 49.7 per cent in Ligue 1.

    More to come from Camavinga in attack

    Goals from midfield are a bonus and Casemiro has struck three times in the league for Real Madrid this season, while Camavinga has netted once for a less prolific Rennes. Casemiro has also taken more shots (26 to 10) and had more 'big chances' (four to one), while creating two to Camavinga's one. Both players have provided two assists in the league this season.

    Plenty for Rennes' teenage star to learn

    Casemiro is widely regarded as one of the world's best midfielders, and Camavinga could learn plenty from the Brazilian. Casemiro has 218 recoveries in the league this season to Camavinga's 147, but Rennes man has a slight edge in duel success (57.5 to 55.7). Camavinga has won more tackles (64 to 55), Casemiro has a better success rate (66.3 to 61) and more interceptions (53 to 44), while neither has made an error leading to a shot this season. At 17, Camavinga is supremely talented, and he could thrive given the chance to develop alongside Casemiro.

  • Rumour Has It: Camavinga the preference for Real Madrid amid changes Rumour Has It: Camavinga the preference for Real Madrid amid changes

    Real Madrid have seemingly set their sights on Eduardo Camavinga, and it may be one of several changes at the LaLiga club.

    Camavinga, 17, has been linked to several European giants after impressing for Rennes.

    The teenage midfielder is a target for Madrid, who could be set for sweeping changes in the close season.

     

    TOP STORY – CAMAVINGA THE PREFERENCE FOR REAL MADRID

    Camavinga is the preference for Real Madrid as it is likely to prove tough to land Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, according to Marca.

    Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is also keen to avoid becoming too reliant on Casemiro, the report says.

    Camavinga has made 25 Ligue 1 appearances for Rennes this season, including 24 starts.

    ROUND-UP

    - It may be just one of several changes at Real Madrid. AS reports there must be exits if players are to come in, with James Rodriguez, Gareth Bale, Lucas Vazquez and Mariano Diaz potentially leaving. The futures of Nacho Fernandez, Marcelo, Luka Modric and Brahim Diaz are also uncertain.

    - Staying at Real Madrid and AS reports the coronavirus pandemic may impact what the club do with Martin Odegaard. The Norway international was expected to spend another season on loan at Real Sociedad but could return ahead of the next campaign as clubs become stricter with their finances.

    - Diego Costa has scored just twice in 19 games for Atletico Madrid this season and could be set for a move. Sport reports Roma are interested in the 31-year-old forward.

    - Achraf Hakimi appears likely to return to Real Madrid from his loan at Borussia Dortmund. However, the Mirror reports Chelsea have enquired about the defender.

    - After impressing with Wolves in the Premier League, Raul Jimenez is attracting interest. Sport reports the Mexico forward could return to LaLiga, with Real Madrid and former club Atletico Madrid interested.

    - Out of contract at the end of the season, Pedro is poised to leave Chelsea. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports Lazio are interested in the attacker.

  • Coronavirus: Shevchenko sees similarities between pandemic and Chernobyl disaster Coronavirus: Shevchenko sees similarities between pandemic and Chernobyl disaster

    Former AC Milan and Chelsea forward Andriy Shevchenko believes the coronavirus pandemic is similar to the Chernobyl disaster.

    More than 30,800 people have died from coronavirus, with the number of cases worldwide exceeding 660,000.

    Shevchenko, who was a child at the time of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 that reportedly killed 54 people and is said to have led to thousands of deaths, said he saw similarities.

    "I lived a moment very similar to this. At the time, I was nine years old," the Ukraine coach told Sky Sport.

    "The only thing we have to do is avoid stupid behaviour. None of us can be sure that we have no contracted the virus.

    "We must not go out, we must not think only of us, but above all of those people for whom the infection would be a greater problem."

    Shevchenko thanked doctors and nurses and urged people to respect guidance from their governments.

    Italy, where Shevchenko played with AC Milan from 1999-2006, has seen more than 10,000 deaths due to coronavirus.

    "The only solution is to respect the rules of the government – that is to stay at home and give doctors the opportunity to do their job, which is really huge," he said.

    "Give them volunteer nurses, they are the heroes of our time. They must be thanked for all they are doing."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.