Diego Simeone didn’t have much faith in the 25-year-old to start with. Still, once Llorente began adjusting his game and moving his position further up the field, acting more like a second striker, he began to get more minutes and rewarded his coach with some great performances.

Diego Simeone discovered Llorente

Marcos Llorente has become an essential part of Atletico Madrid’s success so far this season, with the midfielder shifting his form from the second half of the previous campaign, but admits his first few months at the club were tough. Diego Simeone didn’t have much faith in the 25-year-old to start with. Still, once Llorente began adjusting his game and moving his position further up the field, acting more like a second striker, he began to get more minutes and rewarded his coach with some great performances. “He discovered me, and I reinvented myself,” Llorente told reporters. “You can put the player in and not give up with them; he carries his share of the blame, and I mine.”

Marcos lost his dream when the coronavirus came back to him

It could be argued that Llorente’s career at Atlético, which he joined in the summer of 2019 from Real Madrid for €30 million, changed on one night at Anfield when he came on as a substitute and scored two goals to send Los Rojiblancos into the Champions League quarterfinals. “I went to sleep like a child; happy and contented,” he said. “But soon the subject of how the world was with the coronavirus came back to me, and I lost my dream”. Santiago Solari was the coach who initially gave the midfielder a chance at Real Madrid. Although Zinedine Zidane’s return later in the season then saw him out of favour again. “I have always said it and will always say it: he puts his faith in me and gave me the minutes and confidence,” said Llorente.

“I think I earned it all, but he bet on me. So I had a few perfect months, and I am grateful to him because he gave me the push to get out of the bad spot and be where I am today”. Llorente was called to the Spain during this set of international fixtures. And he made it clear that he must adjust the way he plays under Simeone at Atlético and Luis Enrique with La Roja. “I was told the same as in the club; I have to adapt to the style of play, and every coach has one here,” he stated. “We also come across two different ideas in terms of style. But they ask you to adapt as much as possible to that, as well as your teammates.”