After Barcelona and Sevilla earlier, Atletico Madrid has become the latest Spanish team ousted from the premier European competition, UEFA Champions League.
However, while Barcelona and Sevilla will still be competing in the Europa League, the Roji Blancos will have no European football in the second half of the season.
Yes, it’s true, Atletico Madrid failed to win their last encounter against FC Porto. While some other results in the group didn’t go in their favor, they have dropped to the fourth position in the Group B and eventually out of the competition.
It is the first time in the career of Simeone as manager and 2007 overall, that Atletico Madrid has failed to qualify for any European knockout stage.
End of Simeone era?
This leaves everyone with the question: is this the end of Diego Simeone’s era at Atletico de Madrid?
Simeone has been one of the greatest manager to have ever held the helm at Atletico. Under his command they have won several accolades including La Liga (2), Copa del Rey (1), Europa League (2), and European Super Cup (2).
But just like every good thing, his tenure at Madrid is also bound to come to and end. And perhaps this campaign is just the beginning of it.
Atletico Madrid never looked like a threatening team in the group B. They grouped with teams like Porto, Brugge, and Leverkusen who are known to make it past the group stage quite regularly.
Hence, making it to the UCL knockouts was also going to be hard. However, dropping to the fourth position of the group was still unprecedented.
Simeone last week made a statement about his future. “I’m not going anywhere, I’m here… I feel I have the same security as always. I was asked the other day if I saw myself somewhere else and my answer was no, absolutely,” he said.
But things can change after them dropping out of all European competitions altogether.
Dismal performance against FC Porto
Things stop going in Atletico Madrid’s way when they missed a penalty in a draw against Leverkusen. And despite having players like Morata, Joao Felix, Antoine Griezmann, Angel Correa, De Paul, and Saul, they were unable to make an impact.
Their final game was also a mess in which they were rattled by the Porto side for most part of the game. Although Griezmann came close to scoring, he was ruled out due to a foul in the buildup.
On the other hand, Porto kept piling pressure which resulted two early goals. And they defended that lead in the dying ambers of the game.
Atletico managed to pull one back with Marco’s own goal. But the time was not on their side. Hence a defeat was all they could procure from the game.