- Direct.Atlético-Bayer Leverkusen (18.55 hours)
Bayer Leverkusen is for Jan Oblak (1993) as that black and white photo (or color, depends on age) that one keeps with love from his childhood. It is true that the Slovenian goalkeeper was no kid on that cool March night, during the round of 16 of the 2015 Champions League, but also that he was still trying to become a man in football. He had been in Madrid since summer, Moyá had pushed him to the bench after a gloomy night in Athens and, with 22 years, nobody was sure if he would justify the 16 million paid by Atlético to Benfica . But the 23rd minute arrived, Moyá was injured and he began to write his tremendous story. That tie was decided in a penalty shootout where one stopped (to Calhanoglu, in the center) and, according to those who went to Calderón that night, they turned two with their eyes.
«Oblak broke into a game of this level with no nerves. He jumped into the field as the calm and calm guy he is, transmitting incredible security, ”recalls Mario Suárez , now a Rayo Vallecano player and author of the target that led that match to extra time. «Jan stopped everything that came and decided in the batch with his intimidation of the rival. It was a great night in which he finally took over the goal of Atlético », recalls the former rojiblanco.
Most of those who attended that hatching of Oblak say that, two years later, in another round of eighths, also against Bayer, the Slovenian managed, nobody knows how, to stop time. That night he sculpted what, perhaps, was his most iconic stop in these five years as a rojiblanco. In just four seconds, with 0-0, the three images on the right followed and he, of course, won eternity. «Oblak always conveyed an incredible temperance. He is a serious guy, of few words, but very hardworking, ”adds Mario.
And this afternoon (18.55 hours), again the Leverkusen. A Bayer in trouble, after losing their two games (Lokomotiv and Juventus). Only now, a decade after its premiere in Primera (at the Olimpia Ljubljana), with only 16 years, Oblak is in another dimension. And not because of his way of being, as cautious and cautious as usual. Rather for what has happened since that famous last night before the German team. Among other things, his long-awaited renovation in April, with the red-and-white fans eating their nails after rejecting two offers, which has made him the best paid in the workforce: nearly 10 million net . His freedom is now worth 120 'kilos' , only 20 more than before extending his contract until 2023.
Contract with Puma
With the march of veterans, Jan has climbed a couple of steps in a locker room where Savic remains his strongest support. Since summer he is the second captain, so the bracelet is his when Koke is not in the field. «We understood that I should take an important step. He doesn't talk much, but they listen to him when he does. Its weight is necessary to compensate the needs of the group », defined in the previous Simeone. Its renovation was one of the requirements of the Argentine to follow. Because in the offices of the Metropolitan, as in those of the Calderón, they have always been aware that half of Europe was aware of it. In the summer of 2015, Atlético received an offer from United of 35 million , when its clause was 45. And until its renewal, it stalked the PSG.
«I'm not at the highest level yet. I can still improve, ”admitted Oblak in preseason, during an interview with 'Marca'. A spirit of improvement that still surprises in the offices of the club. «He works in each training as if he had just arrived», they stand out on the one who has thrown his goal in 123 of his 219 games, 24 in 44 Champions duels. Since the summer of 2014, he surpasses with ease the slats that Pablo Vercellone , the goalkeeper coach, puts on.
In this irregular start of Atlético he, as usual, is the link that never falters in the Cholo system. He has only conceded five goals in nine LaLiga matches and left Moscow intact after a double miracle against Krychowiak . Oblak, new icon of the Puma firm since February and ambassador of the 'Play with us' foundation (such as Messi, Suárez, Torres or Griezmann), which helps the most disadvantaged children, walks towards his fifth Zamora followed and dreams of that first Golden Ball for goalkeepers that L'Équipe will deliver on December 2.
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