The soccer player’s self is hierarchical. They are always aware of the role they occupy and the status they have in the team. Seven years after his arrival at Atlético as a promise from the historic San Lorenzo de Almagro, Ángel Correa (Argentina, 26 years old) has placed himself in the place he aspired to. His coach brings him closer to the area and his teammates accept the importance and hierarchy that he has acquired. They all agree to point out him as the most different player due to the unpredictability of his football. The Atlético dressing room has been witnessing an explosion since last season that was decisive for the conquest of the last League.
With the two goals he scored against Celta on Sunday, Correa has eight in Atlético’s last ten games. Among them, the tie on the last day in Valladolid that began the comeback culminated by Luis Suárez to tie the title. That zigzagging, in half a meter between three defenders, and the buzzard punch from the front with which the maneuver culminated was a blow to the table of the footballer that he pretends to be and that Simeone demands of him. “Last season’s was your level, but you have more,” the coach warned him.
“Now I play closer to the area”, he limited himself to explaining with his everlasting half smile at Balaídos. He had just scored both goals of perfect execution. In the first hit he mixed power and positioning with the outer instep and in the second, the strength and direction just to cross the ball into the corner. Simeone did not make an effusive celebration of his with the second goal, but he waved his right hand in admiration, with that gesture that expresses “what a barbarity”. And instantly he changed it because he had already accomplished his task. Correa solved in the premiere against Celta the concern that his coach had with the goal with his eyes set on the league premiere. It gave him the forcefulness that disturbed him. In addition, he played more minutes than Correa himself thought, that he expected a more leisurely start to the course. A week before the start of the championship, with Luis Suárez in full set-up, and without having closed in the market the forward he is claiming, for the Argentine coach it was already a relief to check the state of form of Correa in the skittle with Feyenoord . In the half hour he played he scored a goal and dragged the team.
For the small forward there has not been an integration plan as rigid as that of the last internationals to join the group due to their participation in the Eurocup or the America’s Cup. Trippier, Luis Suárez and De Paul started on the bench. Once again, Correa was the same faithful soldier in Vigo who accepted without bad faces to play on the right wing, although he quietly claimed that Cholo would give him 90 minutes near the area. Those were tough times after an open heart operation. He agreed to be a pawn with a bishop soul. Part of the crowd and the critics reproached him for the fact that the plays he imagined and executed at full speed were not accompanied by good controls, dribbling or accurate shots. His defense was not to stop trying.
All that was about to provoke, two summers ago, his departure to Milan. He felt that he could play more minutes and the coach was willing to sacrifice him for Rodrigo Moreno. The operation was cut short because the Italian club lowered its initial offer. “I don’t want to be there, I want to play for Atlético,” Correa repeated. All in all, he was the player who has given the most performance to Simeone in his search for a fourth offensive midfielder (Gaitán, Vitolo, Carrasco, Lemar). The technician did not find another who sacrificed so much. In addition, with greater or lesser regularity and quantity, some goal and some assistance signed, even if he played out of position. As he ended up adapting, Correa also began to increase the volume of decisive actions in attack.
Last season he already played all the league matches and added nine goals and eleven assists among all competitions. The step forward given by Simeone favored him to be able to play close to the area. “He is more mature in the field,” they say at the club. Outside he was already, as the head of a large humble family that was brought to Madrid and which he took care of since he won his first salary in football when he was 10 years old.
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