Imagine for a second that everything you thought about football is wrong. That all the perceptions that you had about a particular topic of the game was totally misguided and just a matter of how context, situations and factors playing a hand in the result that you see unfolding before your eyes. Simply put: you thought something was like that because of the situations that took place. Want an example of that? See Atletico Madrid’s midfielder, Marcos Llorente, and his misplaced talent.
Diego “El Cholo” Simeone deserves a lot of credit for the great campaign Atletico Madrid are having in La Liga this season, sitting comfortably in the first place and having enough pending games to make the distance even longer. And even though their five points lead with two less games is impressive, one of the biggest highlights of Simeone’s team so far this season is Marcos Llorente.
When Llorente was signed from city rivals Real Madrid, the reality is that there was not a lot of fanfare: he was deemed surplus to requirements to Madrid and he has widely regarded as an underwhelming signing by Atletico. Just another defensive midfielder for a defensive-minded side like Los Colchoneros.
But this is where Simeone deserves a lot of credit: he saw that Llorente’s potential and talent wasn’t as a defensive midfielder, but rather playing further up top in the pitch. He started by playing Marcos on the right of his now classic 4-4-2 formation, but then, in a memorable night against Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League at Anfield, he came on as a sub, played as a second striker and scored a double that proved to be monumental for Atletico in those two legs.
And Llorente’s exploits have only increased so far this season. He already has a career-best production of 7 goals in 25 games and his stamina, workrate, energy and technical ability has made him a key cog in Simeone’s football machinery, which is a very important aspect to point out: even though Llorente has been moved to a more “glamorous” position, he hasn’t lost the workate that defined him as a midfielder.
This is a very good example of how sometimes players are not bad, but just played in the wrong position. Marcos Llorente was a decent defensive midfielder at Madrid and when he was on loan at Alaves, but he reached far greater heights playing in a much more offensive-minded position. This highlights how there are players out there that perhaps never found their own Simeone to reach the full capacity of their football.
Marcos Llorente is living up to his potential and this is a reminder that we shouldn’t rule out any player as there is more to the story than we may know.