Atletico Madrid suffer blow as 61-capped Spain midfielder now ruled out of Manchester United clash


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Atletico Madrid will be without crucial midfielder Koke for tonight’s first leg of the Champions League last 16 against Manchester United.


Koke is one of four captains for Atletico Madrid, along with Jan Oblak, Jose Gimenez, and Stefan Savic. They won’t have his impact tonight.


According to the Spanish publication AS, Koke has been declared unavailable after succumbing to injury.


Koke played the entire 90 minutes of Atletico Madrid’s 3-0 triumph over Osasuna in La Liga over the weekend, contributing an assist.


He started all six games for Atletico Madrid in the Champions League group stages and has 29 appearances for the club this season in all competitions.


After emerging through Atletico’s development system in 2009, the 30-year-old has become an important member of Diego Simeone’s squad.


He has 61 senior Spain caps and 375 Atletico Madrid appearances, including 79 in the Champions League.


Atletico will miss him terribly, despite the fact that they are likely to start a strong midfield combination of Marcos Llorente, Geoffrey Kondogbia, and Hector Herrera.


Lemar could make an appearance.

One piece of good news for Atletico was that winger Thomas Lemar was released from the Covid regimen after spending five days in isolation after missing the weekend’s win.


With Yannick Carrasco suspended for both legs against Manchester United, Diego Simeone benefits from having Lemar available.


Antoine Griezmann is available despite not playing a single minute since December. He’ll almost certainly have to settle for a spot on the bench.


Although Atletico may have Koke back for the second leg, AS reports that he is unlikely to be healthy for their league encounter this weekend.

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