Barcelona return to La Liga action on Saturday when they face Atlético Madrid at Vicente Calderón. This particular clash has become a rivalry over the last few years after these teams started facing each other a lot in very important and intense matches. It's only the third matchday of the Spanish league season, and these two sides meet again. But this time, the Red and Whites look a lot different.
The Colchoneros had one very busy transfer window this summer. Diego Simeone wanted a renovation of his squad, and he saw the departure of recent club stars who played a huge part in the team's success in the last few seasons. But to replace those big names, Atleti did what it always does: bought smart, and brought in ultra-talented players at the lowest possible price. Let's take a look at the Ins and Outs of Atlético ahead of Saturday's game.
Luciano Vietto, Jackson Martínez, Óliver Torres, Filipe Luís, Yannick Carrasco, Stevan Savic, Thomas Partey, Ángel Correa
The departure of Arda Turán to Barcelona left a hole at Simeone's midfield, and he decided to replace the Turkey international with a simple loan callback of highly touted prospect Óliver Torres. The 20-year-old midfielder spent a season on FC Porto, and he returned to Madrid to immediately fill the Arda spot and wear the number 10 shirt. And Oli has had a phenomenal start to the season, showing why he's one of the players expected to become the new Xavi Hernández, not only on the Spanish national team, but maybe with a future move to Barcelona.
Filipe Luís had a depressing year at Chelsea, so he decided to come back home and finds himself playing under Simeone again. Stevan Savic, Thomas Teye, Yannick Carrasco and Ángel Correa were brought in as squad members. And the two attacking signings can certainly be spectacular: Porto striker Jackson Martínez is the new number 9, and Villarreal sensation Luciano Vietto will certainly bring fire off the bench.
João Miranda, Cristian Ansaldi, Mario Suárez, Raúl García, Cani, Raúl Jiménez, Arda Turan, Mario Mandzukic
For the last few years, Diego Godín and Mirand had formed a nearly unbeatable center-back pairing for the Rojiblancos, but the Brazilian started to decline rapidly, and with José Giménez becoming a force alongside his fellow Uruguay international, Miranda lost his starting spot. In search of more minutes elsewhere, he went to Italy and is now at Inter Milan. Another key players in Atleti's recent history, Raúl García and Mario Suárez, also left the club over the summer, alongside unexciting players like Ansaldi, Cani and Raúl Jiménez.
But the two most discussed departures were Mario Mandzukic and Arda Turan. The Croatian international did not have the best of seasons after arriving from Bayern Munich a year ago, but he still managed to score 20 goals in 43 matches with Atleti. His move to Juventus was somewhat controversial, but the signing of Jackson Martínez certainly put any criticism to bed.
A move that certainly gets criticized is the sale of Arda to Barcelona. The Turkish international has been a spectacular performer since joining the Colchoneros, and he left for the Catalan giants for €36 million after saying he was "tired of running" for Simeone. Fans still love their Arda, and they're skeptical about Oli Torres' ability to replace Turan with the same heart and determination their former number 10 showed.
This new-look Atlético might have different names, but is still one of the toughest sides in ther world. Barça better be ready, because this team knows how to fight.