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Things are not always what they seem.
It may be a tired old cliché, but for Marcos Llorente that notion is one that, ultimately, he believes “literally changed my life.”
The date was March 11, 2020, at a time when the world was changing, or was about to change, for everyone due to the coronavirus pandemic. For Llorente things changed due to a coup by Diego Simeone.
Atlético de Madrid trailed 1-0 to Liverpool at Anfield in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16, leaving the teams tied at 1-1 on aggregate.
With 56 minutes elapsed, Llorente entered the fight for Diego Costa. To most observers, this was Simeone trying to close the door, put on a defensive-minded midfielder, head into extra time, maybe score a goal on the counter or win on penalties.
But it was almost a moment of butterfly effect. Yes, the match went into overtime, but Llorente, employed in a more offensive role, scored twice after Roberto Firmino put Liverpool in front. The last third of Álvaro Morata ensured the progression of Atleti.
“The Anfield game was a huge turning point for my career, in fact it literally changed my life,” Llorente said in November.
“I always say, however, that in football you have to confirm yourself every day. I know I did a good performance against Liverpool, but the important thing is to maintain this continuity of performance over time. I am achieving it and I am very happy with what I am doing ”.
Since that night, the forgotten man of Real Madrid has become one of the most important cogs in Simeone’s tactical machine, and on Tuesday he returns to the round of 16 stage to face more English opposition at Chelsea as a player. completely different from himself. It was a year ago.
+6.4 – Marcos Llorente