Of the 19 players that form part of the first team of Atlético de Madrid that will look to Marseille for their third Europa League title, six are products of the Academia rojibanca. Two veterans, Gabi and Fernando Torres, and four players who are the living reflection of the successful work model of Diego Simeone to forge players designed almost to measure for key positions in his Atlético de Madrid in the media and defense. Koke, Saúl, Thomas and Lucas Hernández. Young and international with their respective selections. Four men who owe their great progression to Cholo's confidence, the man who has taken them by the hand to turn them into four of the most interesting players in the league, and who, on Wednesday, when they jump onto the court of Lyon, will seek to confirm its great moment with a European title
Koke, the great marshal of Simeone Of the four young players who will compete in the final, Koke is the only one who can boast of having won a Europa League final on the court. With 372 games with the Atlético shirt behind him, it's hard to remember that Koke, one of the great red-and-white captains, is only 26 years old. It was in the wake of the arrival of Simeone that Koke began to develop as one of the most talented, and versatile players in Spain. That was how he made the jump from the U-23 to the Spanish team, with which he debuted in 2013. Capable of playing in any position of the average, Koke, a great object of Barcelona's desire for more than five years, is the second field player most used by Simeone with 3,944 minutes played. Only Saul overcomes it.Get your premium corebet tips and bet on your favourite team.
The three jewels of Cholo Diego Simeone usually says that in his team there will always be an opportunity for homegrown players. In six years he has given the alternative to more than 20 players of the Academy; three have become pillars of the rojiblanco team - and a model to follow for the other players of the Academy. Saul is, perhaps, the best example. "Since I came to the club, beyond winning titles, which is the main objective, I said that I would not forgive myself for going without strengthening house players. With his work, Koke, Saúl, Lucas, Thomas empower us, "Simeone said in March last year, on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of Saúl's debut, of whom Simeone has said that" he has the conditions to be one of the best midfielders. of the world". Saul debuted in 2012, at 17 years against Besiktas in the middle of Europa League. After spending a year of warm-up at Rayo Vallecano in 2013-14, he returned to become the most important man in the Atletico midfield. Saúl is today the player with more accumulated minutes (4,571 in 54 matches), above Jan Oblak, and after his renovation with the team until 2026, in one of the most expensive. Its clause amounts to 150 million euros.
Thomas and Lucas, 23 and 22 years old respectively, are the youngest members of that select group of jewels of the quarry and have had in the campaign 2017-18, their year of consecration as rojiblancos. Lucas has practically played all season in the left-back due to the injury of Filipe Luis. His work with Atletico has taken him to the national team of France and has attracted the attention of Europe's greats such as Manchester City Today his clause amounts to 55 million (20 more than what Real Madrid paid for his brother Theo). The Frenchman could start at Lyon, not on the side, but as an alternative to José María Giménez, who arrives with discomfort. Thomas, meanwhile, has completed this season his transformation into a "wild card" in the ranks of Cholo, even acting in defense. The Ghanaian midfielder, who spent a year on loan from Mallorca, is, for many, the natural successor of Captain Gabi. So far this season has played 49 games, most as a starter. If the Cholo decides to play with four midfielders, he will start in Lyon next to the rest of the men from the quarry.