Atlético returns to training this afternoon (18:30) at Cerro del Espino and he will do so pending two footballers: José María Giménez and Héctor Herrera. Injured since the beginning of April, the loss of the Mexican has been felt in the team. The order and rigor that he brings to the midfield was revealed to be fundamental when he returned to the team at Osasuna-Atlético, the first LaLiga game of 14, that term that the team coined after the defeat against Levante on February 16, the rojiblanco bottom of the season. Suddenly he flew again. Suddenly, with Herrera in midfield, Koke and De Paul not only mixed but had their best minutes of the season. The footballer who until then was 21st in minutes (just ahead of Wass and Saúl, who left on August 31) was key. A player whose contract ended this June, already. In the midst of that time in which the key was revealed, a jug of cold water: on March 2 the Houston Dynamo of the MLS announced his signing for the next season.
Was there a renewal offer from Atlético? As AS has learned, yes.. But in a rush, when the Mexican, given his lack of minutes, his residual contribution to the rojiblanco team, had already made the decision to leave. In fact, during the last winter market, Herrera’s was one of the names in the rojiblanco team’s showcase (Valencia was one of the interested clubs). With 32 years old in April, in that impasse of lack of minutes and confidence, the Houston Dynamo arrived and made him feel important. He said yes. At the last minute, A few days before his departure was announced, the red and white offer arrived. But his decision was made.
The damage of the stoppages and the few minutes of Cholo
Fixed for his team although he did not have a presence at Atlético, the national team breaks were one of the things that have harmed him during his time at Atlético. He always arrived last, without time to train, settle in the team. In addition to the injuries, which have stranded him like this last one, that of April 1 as soon as he returned from the break with Mexico, as happened last season in October, when he had managed to elbow himself in eleven. He had to start over. In February, questioned about his lack of minutes, Simeone himself admitted that he had not been fair to the player: “They told me why Herrera did not play and he always continued to train in the same way, we were unfair with training that he did with the few minutes he played, but you have to make decisions”. Now Atleti faces five finals, the five League games that remain in this 2021-22 season with one goal: to qualify for the Champions League, the primary goal foundation of everything. After that break in March there have been four games in which Atleti have gone to zero, four of the six played. The best guarantee to return to the flight that arrived in the Osasuna-Atlético is the return of that player who didn’t count and is actually key: Héctor Herrera, in what will also be his last five games with the rojiblanca.