Atletico Madrid are living a complicated moment. Los Rojiblancos were knocked out of the Supercopa de Espana and the Copa del Rey within the space of a week, and are way off the pace in La Liga despite being the defending champions. They face Manchester United in the last 16 of the Champions League but few would back them based on their current form.
The issue at the Wanda Metropolitano, according to a report by Marca, is that the chemistry of the team has been thrown off. A large part of this is due to two big signings that came in during the summer in Rodrigo de Paul and Antoine Griezmann.
De Paul arrived as a star, and that didn’t sit well with the veteran sector of Atletico’s dressing room. His friendship with Luis Suarez, through their mutual acquaintance Lionel Messi, has also served to separate El Pistolero from the rest of the dressing room.
Griezmann has adapted easier because of pre-existing relationships at Atletico, with Koke being a close friend. But the fact he supplanted Angel Correa, one of the most loved and respected squad members, with such ease has ruffled feathers.
But they aren’t the only reasons for a lack of unity. Different cliques have also developed, with the Balkan group of Jan Oblak, Sime Vrsaljko and Stefan Savic often spending time together. A similar situation can be found with the Lusophone group of Joao Felix, Renan Lodi, Matheus Cunha and Felipe, who are also joined by Yannick Carrasco and Thomas Lemar.
Some of the squad are also understood to be disappointed with the way the club has handled Hector Herrera, whose contract expires at the end of the season at Diego Simeone’s request. It’s a situation compounded by poor results, however, and could be turned around should the team go on a good run of form.