Thursday, 19 May 2011

Brasileirão In Focus: Atlético-MG

Atlético Mineiro, o Galo, is an absolutely huge club in Brazil. They are the one of the two giants of Minas Gerais state, along with bitter rivals Cruzeiro. When you consider that the state of Minas Gerais has a population of approximately 20 million people, that gives you some idea of the level of support for this club.

The free spending policies of their president Alexandre Kalil has made Atlético a very interesting team to keep an eye on, especially throughout the off-season, as they buy and sell players like no other team in Brazil. Several first team players left the club this year, World Cup 2002 winner Ricardinho was shown the door, top scorer Diego Tardelli was sold to Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia, midfielder Diego Souza joined Vasco, Obina was sold to China, and Julio Cáceres and Édison Méndez returned to their countries of birth, joining Olimpia in Paraguay and Emelec in Ecuador respectively.

Coming the opposite way, Atlético signed a wealth of new players, leaving them with a team almost completely unrecognizable from that of last season’s. Some of the more interesting additions include the signing of former Inter Milan and Roma winger Mancini, Ceará’s goalscoring forward Magno Alves, Richarlyson of São Paulo, former Avaí right-back Patric, and Dudu Cearense from Olympiakos.

As you could imagine, with so many new faces in the squad, the first big task for manager Dorival Junior is to get the team to gel together. During this year’s Campeonato Mineiro they have been impressive, showing good signs for the rest of the season. They reached the final against rivals Cruzeiro with such ease, but lost 3-2 on aggregate to their city rivals.

The team certainly has talent throughout the squad, but as is so often the job at big teams in Brazil, the manager has to try to consolidate this talent into a secure unit. Renan Ribeiro has had another good season, continuing his growth as a player and further establishing himself as one of Brazil’s best young goalkeepers. In front of him, the centre-back partnership of Réver and Leonardo Silva has impressed many, both are tall, powerful and they seem to be functioning well as a duo.

Fillipe Soutto looks to be the future of the Galo midfield.

Several young talents are also making a big push into the first team at Atlético this year, a quick glance at their first choice eleven throws up names such as Renan Ribeiro, Fillipe Soutto, Bernard and Giovanni Augusto, all of whom are under the age of 23. The real shining star from that list, in my opinion, is 20 year old Fillipe Soutto, a defensive midfielder with great passing, good aerial presence, and a maturity well beyond his years. One worry for him is that with former CSKA and Olympiakos midfielder Dudu Cearense being signed to strengthen the team for the Brasileirão, Fillipe may see himself being pushed to the bench.

Up front, Mancini and Magno Alves have the potential to be one of the most dangerous forward pairings in the Brasileirão. The latter is a complete forward, big, powerful, with decent speed and a natural eye for goal. He had a good campaign in this year’s Campeonato Mineiro, finishing with ten goals in total. Mancini has looked very impressive since he joined, albeit playing in a more withdrawn midfield role, but it seems like he will be employed just behind Magno Alves when we go in to the regular season.

Expected Formation:
football formations


Post a Comment