Barcelona have been drawn against Sevilla in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals, while Real Madrid will take on Girona.

Atletico Madrid have confirmed midfielder Saul Niguez sustained a thigh injury in the Copa del Rey match with Girona on Wednesday.

Atletico Madrid have confirmed midfielder Saul Niguez sustained a thigh injury in the Copa del Rey match with Girona on Wednesday.

Diego Simeone's side exited the competition on away goals after drawing 3-3 at the Wanda Metropolitano in the second leg of their last-16 tie.

Saul had to be replaced 11 minutes into the second half and Atleti said a subsequent injury assessment has determined the midfielder has suffered a "high-grade post-traumatic myofascial injury to his thigh".

The club put no timescale on the recovery of Saul, who has started 17 LaLiga games for the side second in the table behind Barcelona.

A club statement read: "Saul Niguez has undergone this Thursday [an] MRI scan at the Clinica Universidad de Navarra to know the exact extent of the injury he suffered in the Copa del Rey match against Girona and that prevented him from finishing the match caused by a thigh bruise, being replaced by Rodrigo.

"Our midfielder suffers a post-traumatic myofascial injury to his thigh. He is pending clinical evolution."

Diego Simeone was unwilling to discuss the prospect of Atletico Madrid signing Alvaro Morata after his side's Copa del Rey exit.

Morata is reportedly close to joining Atletico having fallen out of favour at Chelsea, who are attempting to bring in Gonzalo Higuain.

Atletico are without Diego Costa as the striker is recovering from foot surgery, while Morata would be returning to the Spanish capital after previously playing for Real Madrid.

Strikers Antoine Griezmann and Nikola Kalinic were both on target in Wednesday's 3-3 Copa del Rey draw at home to Girona, who progressed on away goals after a 4-4 aggregate tie as a result.

But Simeone refused to talk about the latest transfer speculation involving Morata's move when he spoke at a post-match news conference.

"We are not going to talk about Morata because he is not with us," he said.

"We understood that from the beginning of the match, we would be alright with [Thomas] Lemar and Kalinic as we gave rest to Griezmann.

"In the second half [Griezmann] came on and made it 3-2."

Atletico's exit means they have been knocked out of the Copa del Rey at the last-16 stage for the first time in Simeone's spell in charge.

"It was a beautiful match, a classic cup game," said Simeone. "We had the intention of winning at all times.

"We got an early goal and had chances to extend our lead. Girona's physical nature was their greatest ally.

"Congratulations to Girona - we gave everything, we continued to go for the comeback, but the 3-3 hurt us.

"I say to the fans what they saw: a side that gave everything. The intention was always to win the game.

"Sometimes you play well and do not advance. I prefer to play badly and always go through."

Atletico Madrid are out of the Copa del Rey after Girona secured a see-sawing 3-3 second-leg draw at Wanda Metropolitano to reach the quarter-finals on away goals.

Girona forward Cristhian Stuani was non-committal when asked about speculation linking him with LaLiga champions Barcelona.

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone praised Girona and said the Copa del Rey tie was still open after their 1-1 draw in the first leg.

Antoine Griezmann's ninth-minute opener was cancelled out by Anthony Lozano as Atletico were held away from home to open the last-16 tie on Wednesday.

While his side will host the second leg at the Wanda Metropolitano next week, Simeone feels the tie is still 50-50.

"Girona are a strong side who are doing things well. In Spanish football, every team you face makes things difficult for you," he told a news conference.

"The tie is open, with a 50 per cent chance for both sides. We'll see what happens next week."

The result was enough to extend Atletico's unbeaten run to 15 matches, while Simeone has played more competitive games without a win against Girona (four draws) than any other side as coach of the Rojiblancos.

Simeone felt Atletico, who host Levante in LaLiga on Sunday, improved in the second half at the Estadi Montilivi.

"It was a dynamic match between Girona, who tried to hurt us on the break, and us," he said.

"We tried to play in their half of the pitch. We played well in the second half."

Antoine Griezmann continued his goalscoring streak as Atletico Madrid drew 1-1 with Girona to edge them towards the last eight of the Copa del Rey.

Diego Simeone's side have not beaten Girona since they were promoted to LaLiga in 2017, but the visitors looked prime to end that run when Griezmann fortuitously put Atletico into the lead after nine minutes with his seventh goal in eight games.

However, the hosts hit back 25 minutes later as Anthony Lozano netted only his second goal of the season on a night when he was a thorn in Atletico's side.

Simeone will fancy his chances of guiding Atletico to a seventh consecutive appearance in the quarter-finals given they are unbeaten at home this season, but Girona will stand a chance in the second leg if they put in the kind of spirited display that saw them fight back to earn a draw.

The hosts' good start turned sour when Griezmann met Nikola Kalinic's neat pass with a side-footed first-time shot from just inside the box that went in off goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz.

Girona hit back when Aleix Garcia's clever ball picked out Lozano, who took a touch and stroked a dipping shot towards goal that Antonio Adan could only help into the net with a punch that lacked the strength to push it over the crossbar.

Lozano then crashed a header onto the underside of the bar, only to see it bounce back out as Atletico ended the half fortunate to be level.

Kalinic missed two chances early in the second half, heading straight at Iraizoz with the first before turning the Girona defence and blazing over the target from 12 yards with the second.

Seydou Doumbia had plenty to aim at when the ball fell to him on the edge of the six-yard box but he scuffed his shot in what proved to be Girona's last clear-cut chance of the evening, leaving them needing to spring a surprise in Madrid next week.

What does it mean? Atletico still short of their best

After a disappointing draw at Sevilla in LaLiga on Sunday, Atletico looked set for a morale-boosting win after Griezmann's opener but they were pegged

Iraizoz atones for early error

Girona's goalkeeper should have done better with Griezmann's goal but he kept his side in the tie with a string of saves, none better than a one-handed block over his head to prevent Vitolo's close-range thunderbolt.

Godin struggles to cope with Lozano

Lozano found himself with time and space inside the Atletico box twice inside the first half hour as Diego Godin and the Atletico defenders lacked their customary composure.

What's next?

Atletico are in action in LaLiga on Sunday morning when mid-table Levante are the visitors to the Wanda Metropolitano, while Girona will hope to end their five-game LaLiga winless streak at home against Deportivo Alaves a day earlier.

The date and kick-off time for Girona v Barcelona, a LaLiga match slated to be played in the United States before the deal fell through, has been confirmed.

As part of a 15-year agreement between Spain's top division and Relevent Sports, it was proposed Barca would face Girona at Miami's Hard Rock Stadium in January.

But the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE) condemned the plan, with Barca pulling out in December.

And on Wednesday it was confirmed by the league that Girona will host Barca at their Estadi Montilivi home on January 27.

 

Meanwhile, the club's vice-president Jordi Mestre has confirmed there is no contract renewal on offer for boss Ernesto Valverde.

"It's a recurring situation that happens every year," Mestre said, with Valverde's deal set to expire at the end of the season.

"It was the case with Luis Enrique and with [Pep] Guardiola. At this moment Valverde's renewal in not on the table.

"Despite the fact that we are very happy with him, anything can happen in football."

Diego Simeone is ready to call upon star forward Antoine Griezmann for the Copa del Rey round-of-16 encounter with Girona.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas insists he has no plans to propose an alternative regular-season match in Miami next month after Barcelona pulled out of their proposed contest against Girona.

LaLiga will continue with a proposal to play a league fixture outside of Spain for the first time despite Barcelona pulling out of a plan to face Girona in Miami.

As part of a 15-year agreement between Spain's top division and Relevent Sports announced earlier this year, it was proposed Barca would face Girona at Hard Rock Stadium in January.

But Barca said on Monday they are no longer willing to play Girona in Miami because of a lack of support for the idea, although the Catalan giants remain open to the possibility if and when it is backed from all quarters.

"The Barcelona board of directors have agreed to withdraw their disposal to play their game against Girona in Miami, after noting a lack of consensus over this proposal," their statement said. 

"FC Barcelona were and remain willing to play a LaLiga game in Miami, and accepted that income from the game would be shared amongst all Primera Division and Segunda Division clubs, following the same criteria of television rights money distribution, but consider that this project will not prosper until there is an agreement between all parties."

And LaLiga issued a statement in response accepting Barca's decision but confirming the deal with Relevant for matches to be hosted overseas is set to go ahead.

"From LaLiga we want to congratulate FC Barcelona and Girona FC for their willingness to be pioneers in the voluntary intention to play a LaLiga match outside of Spain," their statement said. 

"The LaLiga project with Relevent, signed for 15 years, continues. From the first moment we stated that participation in the game is voluntary and if FC Barcelona expresses its voluntary wish not to attend, this game scheduled in Miami can not be held on the agreed date.

"From LaLiga we regret, as it could not be otherwise, the disappointment that may occur among our fans in the USA. We want to convey to all of them that, in the shortest possible time, LaLiga will play an official match in the USA, just like the major American leagues [NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL] outside their borders.

"LaLiga will continue with the planned demand to claim that a match can be played outside of Spain, although it withdraws the precautionary measure referring to the specific match of January 26."

The statement also noted LaLiga's lawsuit against the Royal Spanish Football Federation's opposition to the plan to play a league game abroad will continue.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino in October said he would block any attempt to take a LaLiga game to the US, while the Association of Spanish Footballers spoke out against the plan from Relevent, the company behind the International Champions Cup.

Barcelona have withdrawn from a plan to play their LaLiga away match against Girona in Miami.

As part of a 15-year agreement between Spain's top division and Relevent Sports, it was proposed Barca would face Girona at Hard Rock Stadium in January.

But LaLiga's plan proved highly unpopular, with the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE) both publicly speaking out against it.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino in October said he would block any attempt to take a LaLiga game to the United States, although the league's president Javier Tebas has continued to push for the proposal.

Barca, though, said on Monday they are no longer willing to play Girona in Miami because of a lack of support for the idea.

However, the Catalan giants remain open to the possibility when it is backed from all quarters.

"The Barcelona board of directors have agreed to withdraw their disposal to play their game against Girona in Miami, after noting a lack of consensus over this proposal," their statement said. 

"FC Barcelona were and remain willing to play a LaLiga game in Miami, and accepted that income from the game would be shared amongst all Primera Division and Segunda Division clubs, following the same criteria of television rights money distribution, but consider that this project will not prosper until there is an agreement between all parties."

Diego Simeone says taking risks is part of Rodrigo's game after the Atletico Madrid midfielder contributed to Girona's opening goal in Sunday's LaLiga draw.

Rodrigo's lose pass in midfield resulted in Cristhian Stuani being played through on Jan Oblak's goal by Patrick Roberts, the goalkeeper tripping the Girona striker just inside the box.

Stuani beat Oblak from 12 yards out to move clear at the top of LaLiga's scoring charts but Atleti scrambled a late equaliser thanks to a spectacular own goal by Jones Ramalho.

A victory would have moved Atletico Madrid top of the table - at least temporarily with Sevilla and Barcelona also in action on Sunday - but Simeone refused to blame Rodrigo.

"In the normal line that we are used to, he takes risks because of his personality," Simeone told a post-match news conference.

"The balls can be lost and they took advantage of it very well.

"I liked the team a lot, in the first half we played what we wanted.

"They are a very tough and complex team who are having a good time, with a goal to tie, win or lose.

"LaLiga is barbaric, there are no simple rivals and that makes it appealing."

Ramalho diverted a volley into his own goal as part of a desperate attempt to stop Diego Costa from scoring, the Spain striker having brilliantly controlled a long pass from Angel Correa.

Costa was playing through the pain of a foot injury and Simeone hailed the forward's battling performance.

"It was the purest Costa," Simeone added. "He's making an effort, he left his soul in every move."

Atletico were without a trio of key defenders with Juanfran, Filipe Luis and captain Diego Godin all missing out due to injury.

And midfielder Koke hailed Atletico's character in coming from behind to earn a precious point, avoiding their first LaLiga loss since September 1.

"We played at a great level today," Koke said. "We were unlucky in front of goal and we have to congratulate the team for the effort. We have to continue working like this and the wins will come."

Injury-hit Atletico Madrid missed the chance to temporarily move top of LaLiga as they drew 1-1 at Girona on Sunday thanks to a spectacular late own goal by Jonas Ramalho.

With Barcelona and Sevilla in action later in the day, Atletico could have leapfrogged both teams but Diego Simeone's men had to come from behind at Municipal de Montilivi.

Cristhian Stuani scored twice in this fixture last season and he opened the scoring from 12 yards with a penalty he won himself after being tripped by goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

Atletico were missing captain Diego Godin, Juanfran and Filipe Luis, but the visitors avoided a first defeat in LaLiga since September 1 thanks to Ramalho's late own goal.

Angel Correa's wonderful long pass sent Diego Costa through on goal, the striker beaten to the ball by Ramalho, who could do little but poke the ball into his own net.

With Atletico's patched-up defence struggling, volleys from Alex Granell and Stuani flew narrowly off target.

Saul Niguez was filling in at left-back but he darted on to a Costa pass to play a one-two with Antoine Griezmann and thunder a drive against the underside of the crossbar.

But Girona took the lead on the stroke of half-time, VAR ruling Stuani was tripped by Oblak just inside the penalty area, with the striker picking himself up to smash home from 12 yards.

Girona goalkeeper Yassine Bounou was quick off his line to halt Griezmann but Girona could have doubled their advantage when Oblak denied Granell at his near post.

Correa saw a 76th-minute shot deflect just wide before Saul forced Girona's substitute goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz into a wonderful fingertip save, Bounou having hurt his groin.

Iraizoz could do nothing about Atletico's 82nd-minute equaliser, though, Ramalho stretching to tackle Costa after the Spain striker brilliantly controlled the ball, but only managing to toe a remarkable finish into his own net from 20 yards.

Gelson Martins could have won it in the third minute of added time but he rifled straight at the legs of Iraizoz after holding off the challenge of Bernardo Espinosa.

What does it mean? Injuries bite for Atletico

Simeone was forced to name a makeshift back line with a trio of first-team defenders out, while Costa led the line despite suffering from a foot injury. Atletico lacked their usual intensity and two dropped points could be damaging come the end of the season.


Stuani a surprise Pichichi leader

With Cristiano Ronaldo having left Real Madrid, many may have expected Lionel Messi to have little competition for LaLiga's top goalscorer prize. But Stuani's 11th of the season has the Girona striker leading the race, moving one clear of Iago Aspas. Messi and his Barca team-mate Luis Suarez have nine goals each. 


Rare sloppy Rodrigo pass costs Atletico

Rodrigo has been a brilliant signing for Atletico but it was his mistake that led to Girona's opener. A poor pass allowed Patrick Roberts to send Stuani through on Oblak's goal for the foul that resulted in a penalty.


What's next?

Both teams are in Copa del Rey action in midweek, with Atletico at home to Sant Andreu on Wednesday, the same day Girona welcome Deportivo Alaves to Montilivi.

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