Monday, February 18, 2019

Atletico Madrid All-Time Team for Foreign Players

Filipe Luís and Diego Godin

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Real MadridBarcelonaValencia,
Atletico MadridSevillaAtletic Bilbao, 
Deportivo La Coruna  Real Sociedad,
Real BetisReal ZaragozaEspanyol
Atletico Madrid All-Time Team for Spanish players

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for Atletico Madrid's foreign players.  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.

Atletico Madrid is the third best team in Spain after Real Madrid and Barcelona. They were runner-ups at the European Cup three times, won a singe Cup Winners' Cup and two Europa League.  In 1995-1996, they also won the Double(La Liga and Copa del Rey).
Diego Simeone and Milinko Pantic 
GK: Thibaut Courtois (Belgium)
Thibaut Courtois joined Chelsea from Genk in 2011, but he was sent away to Atletico Madrid immediately.  He won the Europa League in his first season and then, a Copa del Rey in his second season.  In his final season, Atletico Madrid reached the Final of the Champions' League, but lost to Real Madrid.  He was the starting keeper for Belgium at World Cup 2014 and 2018, and Euro 2016.
Thibaut Courtois
GK: Jan Oblak  (Slovenia)
Oblak made his debut for Olimpija Ljubljana in the 2009–10 season aged 16 before joining Benfica in 2010.  Starting in 2014, he plays for Atletico Madrid. At the time of writing, he has won La Liga Zamora Trophy three times.  At the international level, he became the first-choice goalkeeper of the national team after the international retirement of Samir Handanović at the end of 2015.

GK: Edgardo Madinabeytia (Argentina)
Madinabeytia started his playing career in 1950 with Huracán in Argentina he made over 100 appearances for the club before joining Atletico de Madrid in 1958. During his time with Atletico the club won La Liga once, three Copa del Rey and the 1961–62 European Cup Winners' Cup. He made a total of 237 appearances for the club in all competitions. In 1967, he joined Real Murcia of the Segunda División where he played until his retirement in 1969.

CB/RB: Luis Perea (Columbia)
Luis Perea began his professional career with Independiente Medellín, moving in 2003 to Argentina with Boca Juniors, with whom he won that year's Intercontinental Cup. From 2004 and 2012, he played for Atletico Madrid.  He is their all-time appearance record player for a foreigner. With Cruz Azul, he won the 2013–14 CONCACAF Champions League. From 2002 to 2014, he played over 70 times for Colombia.

CB/RB: Tomas Ujfalusi  (Czech Republic)
Tomas Ujfalusi played 78 times for the Czech Republic, representing the nation at the 2006 World Cup and two European Championships.  He was a key player for the 2000s Golden Generation.   He played for Hamburg, Atlético Madrid, Galatasaray, Sigma Olomouc and Sparta Prague. He won the Europa League in 2010 with Atletico Madrid.

CB: Jorge Griffa (Argentina)
Jorge Griffa started his career with Newell's Old Boys in 1954.  He moved to Spain in 1959 where he played 9 seasons with Atletico Madrid and two more with RCD Espanyol, where he helped the club to grain promotion.  With Atletico Madrid, he won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1962 and a runner-up medal a year later.  At the international level, he was capped 4 times.  He helped Argentina to win the Copa America in 1959.
Jorge Griffa 
CB: Heriberto Herrera (Paraguay)
Heriberto Herrera helped the Albirroja to win the 1953 Copa America and was named the best player of the tournament. He had 5 caps for Paraguay and later played one game for the Spain national football team in 1957 after he moved to play in La Liga. He played with Club Nacional at home and then, with Atletico Madrid between 1952 and 1959.  

CB: Diego Godin (Uruguay)
With Uruguay, he reached the WC semifinal in 2010 and won a Copa America in  2011.  Godín started his professional career with C.A. Cerro at the age of 17. After his good performances, he was transferred to top division powerhouse Club Nacional de Football. In 2007, Godín signed a five-year deal with La Liga side Villarreal CF.  He was a key player for Atletico Madrid when they upset Real Madrid and Barcelona for the La Liga title in 2013-2014. 

CB: Luis Pereira (Brazil)
Luis Pereira was widely considered to be the best central back in the Seleção's history. He was capped over 30 times, but only the 1974 World Cup Finals held in West Germany and remembered receiving a red card against Holland. He played 562 games with S.E. Palmeiras (34 goals) and 171 games with Atlético Madrid (17 goals). With Atletico Madrid, he was considered one of the best defender playing in Europe.  He won La Liga in 1977.
Luis Pereira
LB: Filipe Luís Kasmirski (Brazil) 
Filipe Luis started his career with Figueirense.  He moved to Europe where he played for many clubs, including Ajax, Real Madrid B and Deportivo La Coruna.  He was the starting leftback or Atletico Madrid when they won La Liga in 2013-2014. He joined Chelsea in 2014, but only spent a season there.  His surname is Kasmirski, but better known as just Filipe Luis.  Since 2009, he plays for Brazil. 

DM: MirkoVotava (Germany)
Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, Votava started learning his football trade at local FK Dukla. However, his parents left the country during the Prague Spring. He began playing professionally with Borussia Dortmund in 1974. He subsequently moved to Atlético Madrid in 1982, winning the Copa del Rey in 1985.  In 1986, he joined Werder Bremen, winning the Cup Winners' Cup in 1992.

DM: Tiago Mendes (Portugal)
Tiago Mendes played professionally in five of Europe's major leagues: Portugal, England, France, Italy and Spain. He notably spent eight seasons with Atlético Madrid, winning five major titles including the 2013–14 La Liga and the 2012 Europa League. He also played for Braga, Benfica, Lyon, Chelsea and Juventus.  Capped 66 times for Portugal.  He participated in Euro 2004 and the World Cup Finals in 2006 and 2010.

DM: Diego Simeone (Argentina)
Simeone started his career with Velez Sarsfield before moving to Europe. He first joined Pisa and Sevilla before going to Atletico Madrid.  He won the Double with them in 1995-1996.  He then moved to Inter Milan, where he won the UEFA Cup in 1998.  In 1999, he moved to Lazio.  Again, he won the Double. For Argentina, he was capped 106 times. He won Copa America in 1991 and 1993.  He went to play in three WC Finals; 1994, 1998 and 2002. 

CM: Bernd Schuster (Germany)
Schuster was the star of West Germany's Euro 1980 winning team, but disagreed with the German Football Association and seldom played for West Germany after the tournament.  He started with FC Koln in 1978. He was a star at La Liga in the 1980's, playing for Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. He was the first player to have won the Spanish Cup for the big three in Spain. He later played for Bayer Leverkusen.
Bernd Schuster 
AM: Milinko Pantic (Serbia)
Pantic started with FK Paritizan back home. He went to play with Olimpija Ljubljana and Panionios FC without making any dramatic mark.  At the age of 28, he moved to Atletico Madrid and suddenly, huis career took off. He led them to the Double in his first season.  After 3 seasons, he went to La Harve and then, back to Panionios.  He was only capped 2 times by Yugoslavia.

AM: Dirceu (Brazil) 
Dirceu were on three World Cup teams: 1974, 1978 and 1982.  His best tournament was in 1978, where he made the All-tournament team and awarded the Bronze Ball.  For his club career, he played for various clubs in Brazil and Mexico before joining Atletico Madrid in 1979.  From 1982 to 1987, he played for 5 different Italian clubs.

AM: Larbi Benbarek (France/Morocco)
Larbi Benbarek was born and raised in Morocco in the period when the country was under the French rule.  He was the first Black player to reach stardom in Europe, earning the nick name "Black Pearl". He made his name with Stade Francasis Paris.  In 1948, he moved to Atletico Madrid, where he reached the height of his career and won two La Liga title.  He is considered one of the greatest ever French player. He was capped 19 times between 1938 and 1954.
Larbi Benbarek
LW:  Paulo Futre (Portugal)
Futre won a European Cup with Porto in 1987. He was the best Portuguese player in the 1980's. He gained more than 40 caps for his country, representing it at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.  He played in Spain, France, Italy and Japan, most notably with Atlético Madrid and Porto.  With Porto, he won the European Cup in 1987, putting on a Man of the match performance in the final against FC Bayern Munich.

FW/AM: Sergio Aguero (Argentina)
El Kun became the youngest player ever to play in the Argentine Primera Division in 2003 when he played for Independiente.  In 2006, Atletico Madrid broke their transfer record to sign him.  He rewarded the club with the Europa Cup in 2010.  In 2011, he joined Manchester City. Again, he rewarded the club with an added time goal that won the Preimership for Manchester City's first ever title. At the time of writing, he had 77 caps.  

CF: Henry Carlsson (Sweden)
In 1939, Henry Carlsson made his debut with AIK.  After winning the Olympic Gold medal in 1948, he moved to play for Stade Français in France as an amateur. In 1949, he started his professional career with Atletico Madrid at the age of 32, winning two league titles in Spain.  At Madrid, he played under Helenio Herrera alongside Larbi Benbarek. For Sweden, he was capped 26 times between 1941 and 1949.

ST: Hugo Sanchez (Mexico)
Hugo Sanchez was considered to be the best Mexican player of all-time. He is remembered for his career in Spain where he played for both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.  He won 5 straight Pichichi title in Spain.  With Real Madrid, he won five consecutive league titles (from 1985-86 to 1989-90), the Copa del Rey in 1989, and the UEFA Cup in 1986.  The team was the dominant team in Spain during the 1980's.

ST:  Radamel Falcao (Colombia)
At the time of writing, Radamel Falcao is playing for AS Monaco. He also played for Porto and Atletico Madrid, where he won the Europa Cup for each of them.  He played in the World Cup Finals in 2018, but he missed the 2014 Finals through an injury. He is Colombia's all-time leading scorer. At the club level, he also played in England for Manchester United and Chelsea, and in Argentina with River Plate.
Radamel Falcao 
ST: Vava (Brazil)
Vava's nickname was "Peito de Aço" (Steel Chest). He played for Sport Club do Recife, C.R. Vasco da Gama, S.E. Palmeiras.  He was capped 20 times.  He won the World Cup in 1958 and 1962 World Cup Finals.  He won the co-winner of the Golden Shoe award in 1962.  He scored in the final of both 1958 (twice) and 1962 (once), thus becoming the first player to score in the final of two different world cups. 

ST:  Diego Forlan (Uruguay)
Diego Forlan's career in Europe started slowly, but his career finally took off after heading to Spain in 2004.  He was two-time European Golden Shoe winner in 2004-2005 and then, 2008-2009.  His best years were with Villarreal and Atletico Madrid, winning the UEFA Europa League with the latter. He had 112 caps, leading Uruguay to  the 2011 Copa America title as well the semi-final of the 2010 World Cup Finals.  He won the Golden Ball at South Africa 2010.

ST/FW: Antoine Griezmann (France)
The Frenchman joined Real Sociedad's youth academy and made , his senior debut in 2009.  He moved to Atletico Madrid in 2014 helping the club to reach the Champions' league final in 2016.  At the time of writing, he was capped 49 times for France.  He made his mark at the World Cup in 2014.  Two years later, he led the team to reach the Final of Euro 2016.  He won the Golden Boot that year.
Antoine Griezmann 

Honorable Mention
Juninho Paulista (Brazil), Leivinha (Brazil), Arden Turan (Turkey), Santos Ovejero (Argentina), Ramón Heredia (Argentina), Christian Vieri (Italy), Leo Franco (Argentina), Ramiro (Brazil), Simao (Portugal), Diego (Brazil), Radek Bejbl (Czechoslavakia).

Squad Explanation
-- Diego Forlan (Uruguay), Diego Simeone (Argentina), Diego Godin (Uruguay), Luis Pereira (Brazil), Milinko Pantic (Serbia), Sergio Aguero (Argentina), Paulo Futre (Portugal) and Larbi Benbarek (France/Morocco) are also on my All-Time Atletico Madrid team.
-- Germán Burgos was better known for his spell as Atletcio Madrid's assistant coach. Leo Franco would be ahead of him since he was a starter for many years.
-- During my research, I came upon Marcel Domingo, but I do not know much about him.  I also did not know much about Edgardo Madinabeytia, but he won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1962. 
-- Although both Donato and Diego Costa were born in Brazil, they were cap-tied by Spain.  I considered them to be domestic player.
-- Luis Pereira is amomg the all-time appearance leader for a foreign player.
-- There were not many foreign rightback of note who played for the club. Tomás Ujfalusi was in the side that won the UEFA Europa League in 2010. He played as a rightback. Georgios Seitaridis (Greece) never settled down with the club.
-- I admitted not knowing much about Miroslav "Mirko" Votava.  He was also on my all-time team for Werder Bremen.
-- This team lacked a good alternative defensive midfielder after Diego Simeone. Maniche and Costinha never settled down in Madrid. In the end, I selected Tiago Mendes over Radek Bejbl (Czechoslavakia)because his career in Madrid was longer.
-- Antoine Griezmann has done enough for the club to be on this team.  Radamel Falcao's career was brief, but he won an Europa League. 
-- Hugo Sanchez was known for his career with Real Madrid, but he actually spent 5 seasons with Atletico Madrid. He won the Trofeo Pichichi.
-- Christian Vieri (Italy) was great with the club, but he only stayed here for a single season.  He earned honourable mention.

Both Thibaut Courtois and Diego Forlan are on my All-time team created in 2016.  Since 2016, Jan Oblak  Antoine Griezmann probably should replace them on the team.


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