LaLiga 2019-20: Are Atletico Madrid missing Diego Godin?
After spending nine seasons with Atletico Madrid, Diego Godin secured his move to the Italian giants Inter this summer. The Uruguayan centre-back put pen to paper as he signed a three-year contract with the Nerazzurri on a free transfer. In the process, Atletico Madrid undoubtedly lost a leader of men who contributed a lot to the club's success this decade.
As Antonio Conte succeeded Luciano Spalletti at Inter, he brought in a few new names to the squad. With the addition of Godin to the squad, there is no doubt that Inter have got a leader and a quality experienced personality on their hands, and that too for free.
Inter have had a breathtaking start to the season, currently sitting comfortably at 2nd place in the Serie A, a point behind the league leaders Juventus. They seem like a transformed unit this season, and their defence has played a huge part in that.
As Conte prefers to play a three-at-the-back formation, Godin has formed a great defensive partnership with his fellow centre-backs Stefan de Vrij and Milan Skriniar. The Uruguayan has been a rock at the back for Inter, having played 490 minutes with 1.9 tackles and interceptions per game, 2.4 clearances per game and an overall rating of 7.1 per game, which is quite an impressive start.
That's no real surprise, as Godin had also been one of the most important players at Diego Simeone's side over the last couple of years. In the 2017-18 season, Atletico Madrid conceded nine goals in their first 12 league games and first four Champions League games combined; last season, they conceded 10 goals in the same number of fixtures, and this season they have conceded 11.
Atletico Madrid are known for conceding very few goals, and the Uruguayan used to play a very influential role at the back. He was always a reliable option for Diego Simeone.
"He's earned a place he deserves. Not every player can say goodbye like these boys. They'll remember it forever. I feel huge pleasure with the experience he's had," concluded Simeone in a news conference as Godin departed the club after nine years of service.
It is very difficult to replace a leader who has left behind a glorious legacy. Throughout this decade, Godin contributed a lot to the Red & White side of Madrid; he was an important part of all their trophy-winning journeys which included Copa del Rey 2012-13, LaLiga 2013-14, and Europa League 2011-12 and 2017-18.
Godin was a part of the UEFA Champions League Team of the Season 2013-14, 2015-16 and 2016-17, and he also won the LaLiga Best Defender of 2015-16 award.
In order to replace Godin, Atletico Madrid signed two centre-backs - 24-year-old Mario Hermoso from Espanyol and 30-year-old Felipe from Porto, for 25 million euros and 20 million euros respectively. But Atletico Madrid are still missing a leader of Godin's quality in their squad.
Now that the Uruguayan has left the club, there is no doubt that he will go down as one of the greatest players in the history of Atletico Madrid. But can the club move on from him the way he has from them?