Mario Mandzukic has been playing through an injured ankle for the last 10 games, according to Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone.
With two eyes looking forward to next week’s UEFA Champions League clash with Real Madrid, Simeone announced on Monday that Mandzukic will be rested for Atletico’s La Liga clash with Real Sociedad on Tuesday. Simeone didn’t say whether Mandzukic will be available for Saturday’s league trip to Malaga.
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If we’re taking Simeone’s 10-game timetable seriously, Mandzukic, who leads Atletico with 20 goals scored in all competitions this season, has scored four goals and assisted on four others in his last 10 appearances for the club, though not a single goal or assist was made in the last five.
Four goals and four assists in five games? Pretty darn good. Zero goals and zero assists in five games? Pretty darn not-so-good.
With Madzukic playing alongside fellow newcomer Antoine Griezmann (18 goals), Atletico have enjoyed one of the best one-two punches in the league this side of Messi-Neymar and Ronaldo-Benzema, but find themselves clutching onto third place with just a one-point lead on Valencia and nine games still to play.
In the six games Atletico have faced their Madrid neighbors since last year’s Champions League final defeat, Los Rojiblancos are undefeated with four wins and two draws across three different competitions (Spanish SuperCup, La Liga and Copa del Rey).