Atletico Madrid have long been the little brother in Spain’s capital to the glorious powerhouse of Real Madrid. They have won just 10 La Liga titles to Real’s 33. Real have won 13 Champions League titles, Atletico have none.
However, in recent years Atletico Madrid have started to draw level with Real in on-field success. The Atleti claimed the 2013-14 La Liga title, and were runners up last season ahead of Real. This season they are again in second to Real’s third. Atletico Madrid even added a third Europa League title in a decade last season. Silverware has been coming in, but they still can’t escape from Real Madrid’s shadow. In 2014 and 2016 they were beaten in the Champions League final by Real. Diego Simeone has taken the club so far, but can you take them further?
In Football Manager 2019 you get the chance to take over Atletico Madrid at the start of the 2018-19 season and lead them forward. RealSport has everything you need to know to finally lift Europe’s biggest prize with Atletico Madrid.
The Atletico Madrid board have no philosophies they would like you to follow during your tenure with the club. This is a good thing as it allows you to move on from the more defensive, counter-attacking style that Diego Simeone favoured. It also means you aren’t tied to pushing academy players or only signing young players.
The Atletico board may not care how you play, but they certainly care about the results. They expect you to challenge for every competition, with Champions Cup qualification in the league a minimum requirement while they also want you to make the final of the Spanish Cup and the semi-final of the Champions Cup.
That’s a lot of football they expect you to play, meaning that squad rotation and depth will be important. You can get away with falling short in the domestic cup, but if you drop off the top of La Liga or fail to get out of the group in the Champions Cup, you will soon be in hot water with the board.
FM 19 offers far more tactical range that previous years. Setting up your tactics requires you to select a tactical style before you begin to shift your formations and set individual roles. This means you need to pick what kind of manager you want to be. Do you want to be a high-energy pressing side like Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool? Will you bring glory back to tiki-taka? Or do you want to play more direct and straight forward?
Atletico Madrid are very well-suited to most tactical style, but their quality in midfield and attack means that tiki-taka, gegenpress, or vertical tiki-taka would work well. There will be some games, away to Barcelona for example, where a fluid counter-attack would be the smartest option. You have room for three tactics in your training so make the most of this and have one game-to-game tactic, one for when you need a goal, and one for when you expect to be put under pressure by the opponent.
The Atletico Madrid squad is well-balanced, but your day-to-day formation should be a 4-4-2 Diamond. This allows your star central midfielders to run the show and also plays to the central strength of the team. It fits the vertical tiki-taka style perfectly, but Atletico also has the personnel to play with more width in a 4-2-3-1, which you should also look to establish as a tactic for your players to train with.
Jan Oblak is your automatic starter in goal with a back four of Santiago Arias, Diego Godin, Jose Gimenez, and Lucas Hernandez. Rodri is the shield for the back four with Saul & Koke making up your central pair. Angel Correa sits at the top of the diamond with Antoine Griezmann as a false 9 strike partner to Diego Costa.
Antonio Adan is your substitute goalkeeper with Stefan Savic and Juanfran providing defensive cover. Thomas Partey, Vitolo, and Thomas Lemar offer midfield changes and width options if you need to change tactic mid-match. Former Chelsea player Alvaro Morata is your backup striker.
The Atletico first XI is full of quality players, with two that are world class. You won’t want to sell any of these players but you may well have to fend off interest from big teams. If you can add one or two more top talents to this squad, you can compete for everything.
Antoine Griezmann – CA 4.5 star (179), PA (182)
Antoine Griezmann’s quality is undeniable. The French star has been instrumental not only in Atletico’s recent success but also in the victories of the French national side. He arrived in Madrid for a €30 million fee from Real Sociedad in 2014 and he’s scored over 100 goals since then as he transformed from a winger to an out-and-out forward.
In FM 19 Griezmann has world class talent. His 19 first touch, 18 finishing, 18 off the ball, and 17 crossing make him deadly in front of goal and an amazing creator for others. His 179 CA makes him the key to your hopes in front of goal, you just need to get him on the field and watch him go.
Jan Oblak – CA 4 star (172), PA 4.5 star (176)
Jan Oblak is one of the most talented goalkeepers in the world. He started his career with Olimpija Ljubljana in his native Slovenia before moving to Benfica, after spending most of his time out on loan he moved to Atletico in 2014 for €16 million and by 2015 he was the starter. With all that experience, Oblak developed into a world class goalkeeper.
In FM 19 Oblak’s 172 CA is remarkable for a 25-year-old goalkeeper, and there is still a little room to grow with a PA of 176. Oblak’s 16 passing, means he can also launch attacks as well as stop them. Interest will be high from other teams, even with a £50 million valuation.
Diego Godin – CA 4 star (164), PA 4 star (169)
Diego Godin is a veteran centre back that came to Atletico Madrid in 2010 from Villarreal for €8 million. He quickly became an integral part of the Atleti backline. He scored an equaliser in the final game of the 2013-14 season to earn Atletico Madrid the La Liga title and has taken over the captain’s armband for both club and country.
In FM 19 Godin is still a star centre back even in his older years. His 164 CA is excellent for a 32-year-old, and his 18 heading, 17 marking, and 16 tackling still makes him a tough prospect for any attacker. However, you shouldn’t be willing to lean on him for too much longer given his age.
Atletico Madrid already have several younger players like Lucas Hernandez and Rodri that have become key players of the first team. Who do they have waiting in the wings that could step up soon?
Victor Mollejo – CA 2 star (111), PA 4.5 star (130-160)
Victor Mollejo joined Atletico Madrid at the age of 9 and has risen through their youth system to develop into a leading prospect for the team. He arrived in the Atletico B team in August 2018 and became an immediate starter, making a big impact. He was handed his first team debut in January 2019 as a substitute.
Victor Mollejo may only be 17 years old, but he’s already in the Atletico Madrid squad in FM 19. He is very much a reserve player, but you should get him some first-team action to continue his development. His 130-160 PA range means he could become almost as good as Thomas Lemar or even Antoine Griezmann, if you develop him correctly.
Borja Garces – CA 1.5 star (105), PA 3.5 star (130-160)
Borja Garces joined Atletico Madrid in 2016 and was soon an impressive part of the youth system. In 2018 he made in to the Atletico B team which plays in the second tier of Spanish football. He also received his senior debut in September 2018 as a substitute where he scored in the last minute to secure a draw against Eibar.
Garces is a solid prospect in FM 19. He is already a solid performer, with a 105 CA along with 14 finishing, 14 first touch, and 14 acceleration, but won’t be breaking into the Atletico first team immediately. However, giving him some first team action somewhere or sending him out on loan would be wise as that 130-160 PA range means he can become a remarkable striker for you in the future.
Toni Moya – CA 2 star (108), PA 3.5 star (138)
The Atletico Madrid midfield is fairly deep, but in most situations you will need three on the field, which means developing options to rotate the likes of Saul and Koke out when they need a break will be important. Enter Toni Moya. The 20-year-old is already solid on the ball with 13 first touch and 13 passing, and has excellent mental talents too with 16 teamwork and 15 work rate. His PA isn’t super-high, but it’s very attainable and will make him a good player for the team.
|Midfield depth||Transfer budget|
|Attack depth||Wage budget|
|Youth prospects||Overall depth|
Team Leaders: Filipe Luis, Diego Godin (C), Diego Costa
Highly Influential Players: Koke (VC), Juanfran, Antoine Griezmann, Saul, Rodi, Jan Oblak, Jose Gimenez, Alvaro Morata
The dynamics section of FM 19 are a representation of how your squad functions together off the field. Who are the leaders in the dressing room, which players are the respected ones that set the tone. Keeping the team leaders happy is key to maintaining good morale, but that will take some doing here as they are all over 30 and coming to the end of their career, but moving on from all of them at once would create chaos in the dressing room.
The Transfer Market
Starting transfer budget: £227,000
Remaining wage budget: -£15,840 a week
The transfer budget is very thin at Atletico Madrid, especially after their recent £63m move for Thomas Lemar. Even removing all of the transfer budget and putting it into the wage budget will not move you out of the red, so any immediate signings are out of the question.
Players to sell
The Atletico Madrid squad does not have a lot of spare parts, but if you are unlikely to use much width in your play, then the likes of Vitolo could be sold on to ease some of the financial pressures. At a value of £34m he can get you a nice chunk of change, but with a CA of 155 and PA of 158 you will be losing a good player. Thomas Partey is another that could be moved, especially if you are willing to give more game time to a prospect like Toni Moya.
New transfer budget: £16 million
New remaining wage budget: £227,500 a week
If you move Vitolo and Partey, then you will open up some space in your wage budget and also receive a little boost to your transfer funds. It isn’t much though, and it would be extremely difficult to find any first-team player with this little money.
Your transfer budget is also unlikely to increase much in the near future, making life pretty tricky. You are best served by renewing contracts rather than signing new players, increasing minimum fee release clauses, and protecting the stars you have so that any transfer fee that comes in will be massive, solving some of the financial woes the team has.
There are four first team players who start FM19 with one season left on their contract. Of those two are young starlets that should be retained. Toni Moya and Victor Mollejo have the potential to be leading players for Atletico so you should lock them up quickly. The more difficult decision lies in what to do with the other two players. They are Filipe Luis and Juanfran.
Luis is not your starting left back as he’s 32 years old, so giving him an extension on his £135,000 a week contract does not seem wise. It’s a similar story for Juanfran, though he is likely to see more game time in the first season, with Santiago Arias available and Sime Vrsaljko returning from loan next summer the right back position is pretty well set for the future making Juanfran, already 33 years old, surplus to requirements.
Centre back Stefan Savic only has two years remaining on his contract and even though he has a long time left on his contract, it may be worth offering Lucas Hernandez a pay rise and bumping up his minimum fee release clause from £90 million to £120 million as the 22-year-old is often in high demand.
As mentioned, Atletico Madrid’s finances are in a sorry state. Their balance is £100 million in the red, and they are projected to make massive losses in the next few years as expenditure far out strips turnover. This makes deep Champions Cup runs and big domestic results all the more important. It also means you may well be forced to sell off some of the more promising players in the squad to balance the books. This is why ensuring you get maximum return from any potential sale is so vital.
Win the big one
Atletico Madrid’s window to win the European Champions Cup is small. Antoine Griezmann is 27. Jan Oblak and Lucas Hernandez could become targets for the rich elite clubs and disappear, the same goes for Koke & Saul. Atletico have gone four seasons without winning La Liga, they have come up short in European finals. They may never have a squad this talented again, it is up to you to make sure they find victory on the grandest stage in club football.
Full Atletico Madrid Player Ratings
|Jan Oblak||25||GK||SK||Support||4 star||172/176|
|Santiago Arias||26||D (R)|
|Diego Godin||32||D (C)||BPD||Defend||4 star||162/168|
|Jose Gimenez||23||D (C)||CD||Defend||3.5 star||158/168|
|Lucas Hernandez||22||D (LC)|
|Koke||26||M (RLC)||Mezzala||Support||3.5 star||163/169|
|Angel Correa||23||AM (RLC)|
|Antoine Griezmann||27||AM (LC)|
|Diego Costa||29||ST (C)||CF||Attack||3 star||162/168|
|Antonio Adan||31||gK||SK||Defend||2.5 star||144/155|
|Stefan Savic||27||D (C)||CD||Defend||3 star||153/158|
|Toni Moya||20||M (C)||DLP||Defend||2 star||108/138|
|Thomas Lemar||22||M (L)|
|Alvaro Morata||25||ST (C)||CF||Attack||3 star||152/170|
|Filipe Luis||32||D (L)|
|Victor Mollejo||17||AM (RL|
|Nikola Kalinic||30||ST (C)||PF||Attack||2.5 star||142/150|
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