Player profile: Marcos Llorente

15.03.2020 15:16:26 Euan McTear
Marcos Llorente of Atletico Madrid
  • The Spaniard switched from Real Madrid to Atlético Madrid last summer
  •  He didn’t initially get the playing time he was looking for
  •  Since playing a more attacking role in recent weeks, he has started to thrive 

 

Marcos Llorente was born to play football. His father Paco Llorente played for Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid and Spain. His grandfather on his mother’s side Ramón Grosso played for Real Madrid and Spain. And his great uncle Paco Gento played for Real Madrid and Spain and holds the record for the most European Cups won with six. 

Marcos Llorente hasn’t played for Spain’s senior team yet, but he has already ticked off the Atlético Madrid box, the Real Madrid box and the European Cup box. That one Champions League that he has won came in 2017/18 when he was at Real Madrid, but it’s true that he hardly featured in that year’s competition. Now, he’s setting his sights on winning it again and on doing so with Atleti, after making a cross-city switch to join up with Diego Simeone last summer. 

Playing time was the reason, but Llorente didn’t actually feature that much during his first few weeks at his new club. The midfielder is known to be a physical force, as his endurance and overall fitness may be unmatchable, but it takes more than running to fit into Simeone’s system and the 25-year-old took some time to adapt. Over the first half of last season, while with Real Madrid, he played 281 LaLiga minutes. This year, he had 311 minutes over the first half of the season, less than half a match of football more, even though he’d moved in search of game time. 

In recent months, though, the midfielder has become an integral part of Simeone’s plan and even scored his first Atleti goal in a 2-2 draw with Valencia in February. Interestingly, that came in the first match where he was deployed away from central midfield. On that occasion, Llorente played on the right and had one of his most effective performances. 

With that fresh in the memory, Simeone turned to Llorente when Atlético Madrid were 1-0 down at Anfield on Wednesday night, needing an attacking spark to go through in their Champions League tie against Liverpool. Heads were scratched when Llorente was brought on for Diego Costa, including that of his uncle, but Simeone knew that Llorente could add something more to the midfield at the same time as posing some kind of attacking threat. 

And that’s exactly what happened. Llorente scored two magnificent goals in extra time and also assisted the third for Álvaro Morata, delivering a performance for the ages. Llorente has directly contributed to just 17 goals (eight goals and nine assists) in his entire career and three of these (18%) were on Wednesday night at Anfield

 

Marcos Llorente’s eight career goals

19/12/2015: For Real Madrid Castilla vs Talavera in Segunda B

10/01/2016: For Real Madrid Castilla vs Ebro in Segunda B

07/05/2016: For Real Madrid Castilla vs Talavera in Segunda B

22/12/2018: For Real Madrid vs Al Ain in Club World Cup

31/01/2019: For Real Madrid vs Girona in Copa del Rey

14/02/2019: For Atlético Madrid vs Valencia in LaLiga

11/03/2019: For Atlético Madrid vs Liverpool in Champions League

11/03/2019: For Atlético Madrid vs Liverpool in Champions League

Llorente has always been considered as a defensive midfielder because that’s the position he played when on loan at Alavés in 2016/17, the year he broke out. However, perhaps he can be as effective, if not more effective, in a more advanced position.

 

 

 

 

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