Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke ruled out of United clash, Lemar eligible to play
Atletico Madrid will be without key midfielder Koke for tonight’s Champions League last 16 first leg against Manchester United.
Koke is one of four Atletico team captains along with Jan Oblak, Jose Gimenez and Stefan Savic. They will be without his influence tonight.
Spanish newspaper AS reported last night Koke has been declared unavailable after losing his battle with injury.
Koke played all 90 minutes of Atletico’s La Liga win over Osasuna at the weekend and provided an assist in the 3-0 victory.
He started all six games for Atletico in the Champions League group stages and has 29 appearances in all competitions for Atletico this season.
The 30-year-old has been a key part of Atletico under Diego Simeone after coming through their youth system in 2009.
He has 61 senior caps for Spain and 375 appearances for Atletico Madrid, including 79 in the Champions League.
His absence will be sorely felt by Atletico, even though they are expected to start a talented midfield trio of Marcos Llorente, Geoffrey Kondogbia and Hector Herrera.
Lemar could play
There was one bright spot of injury news for Atletico, with winger Thomas Lemar cleared from Covid protocol after spending five days in isolation which caused him to miss the weekend’s win.
Atletico are short on the wing with Yannick Carrasco suspended for both legs against United, and having Lemar available is useful to Diego Simeone.
Antoine Griezmann is available even though he has not played a single minute since December. He is most likely going to have to settle for a spot on the bench.
It is possible Atletico could have Koke back for the second leg, although AS report he is not likely to be fit for their league game this weekend.