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Aug 10, 2019 at 5.06pm UK at Vicente Calderon Stadium
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Preview: Atletico Madrid vs. Juventus - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews the pre-season friendly between Atletico Madrid and Juventus, including team news and predicted lineups.

Atletico Madrid and Juventus meet at the Friends Arena in Sweden on Saturday to play their final pre-season match ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.

The Old Lady are beginning a new era under Maurizio Sarri, who arrived in Turin over the summer after Massimiliano Allegri's five-year spell came to an end, while Atletico's starting XI has a new look following a busy summer of incomings and departures.

Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid's Joao Felix in action against Real Madrid in the International Champions Cup on July 26, 2019© Reuters

Diego Simeone's side have won all five of their pre-season games so far, kicking off the summer with a 3-0 win over Numancia before beating Guadalajara on penalties in Texas as their notorious defensive solidity manifested itself with two clean sheets to open the club's tour of the United States.

Their next outing garnered worldwide attention, with Atletico racing into an emphatic 7-1 lead over bitter rivals Real Madrid before the game ultimately finished 7-3. Diego Costa, who received an eight-match ban towards the end of last season, left his mark on the game by scoring four goals and receiving a red card.

While pre-season is essentially meant to improve fitness levels, the win in New Jersey personified what this Atletico side, replete with new faces but endowed with an established mindset, can offer - high-intensity, ruthlessly disciplined football played with a hint of nastiness.

It has been a summer of marked change for a team which, under Simeone, has for some years revolved around the same group of players.

Three of Atletico's first-choice back four, for example, are new signings following the departures of Juanfran, Diego Godin and Filipe Luis, while at the other end Antoine Griezmann's £108m move to Barcelona has stripped Atletico of a talisman and their main goal threat.

Among the departures from the Wanda Metropolitano this summer are Luis Hernandez, Gelson Martins, Luciano Vietto, Bernard Mensah and Rodri, who became Manchester City's most expensive signing of all time earlier this summer after completing a £62.8m move to the Etihad Stadium.

Every club must evolve to remain at the top, and Atletico's business this summer reflects that notion more than almost any other top European side.

Their £113m capture of Portuguese starlet Joao Felix, whose remarkable 2018-19 campaign attracted interest from all corners, was a stunning statement of intent, and he will be expected to not just replace Griezmann but indeed follow in the footsteps of greats such as Fernando Torres, Diego Forlan, Sergio Aguero, David Villa and Radamel Falcao.

Alongside Felix, the club has also brought in Marcos Llorente, Felipe, Mario Hermoso, Renan Lodi, Ivan Saponjic, Hector Herrera and Kieran Trippier, who is tasked with filling the boots of Juanfran on the right-hand side, for a combined total of £279m.

Simeone will use this game against Juventus to test the starting XI he plans to unleash on the opening weekend of the season, with Atletico beginning their La Liga campaign at home against Getafe on August 18.

Recent form: LWWWWW


Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their second goal against Tottenham on July 21, 2019© Reuters

While Atletico have certainly made serious changes this summer, Juventus can be said to have completely turned the page on a new era with Sarri, formerly manager of rivals Napoli, at the helm following Allegri's departure.

Despite strolling to a remarkable eighth Serie A title last season, the Juventus hierarchy has recognised the need for a change in direction after the club was brushed aside at home by Ajax in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Cristiano Ronaldo had moved to Turin last year in order to help the club win its first European crown since 1996, but if anything, Juventus looked further away from winning the tournament than they had in years.

Sarri is expected to move away from the favoured Juventus model of three at the back and play a more fluid 4-3-3 system which places strong emphasis on beginning attacks from the last line of defence.

Ronaldo, often played as a traditional number nine last season, is expected to feature in a floating false nine role, thereby having licence to receive the ball at pace across the final third - much like with Eden Hazard at Chelsea last season.

Key to this revolution in playing style is Matthijs de Ligt, who completed a move to Turin over the summer for a fee of £67.5m after cementing himself as one of Europe's best defenders during a remarkable 2018-19 season at Ajax.

One of Sarri's guiding principles on the pitch is the initial release pass from defence to midfield in order to break lines and open up avenues into the final third, and arguably no-one does this better than De Ligt, whose arrival symbolises a departure from the days of Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli.

Alongside De Ligt there have been a series of shrewd purchases from the Bianconeri this summer. Manchester City's Danilo has arrived, with Joao Cancelo heading in the other direction, while the addition of central defenders Cristian Romero and Merih Demiral - both aged 21 - further indicates how Juventus are looking to the future. Highly rated 20-year-old left-back Luca Pellegrini has also joined from Roma.

Juventus have a tradition of signing top quality players for free and this summer has been no exception. Aaron Ramsey joined from Arsenal at the start of the window and is expected to play a key role in a midfield which also includes Adrien Rabiot, who arrived from Paris Saint-Germain after falling out with Thomas Tuchel. Club legend Gianluigi Buffon also returns to Italy after a season with PSG.

If the new arrivals reflect a potential change in direction at Juventus, the list of departures leaves no doubt that this is a club rapidly remoulding itself around a new footballing outlook. Along with Cancelo, Juventus have sanctioned permanent moves away for 12 players; Moise Kean, Leonardo Spinazzola, Emil Audero, Stefano Sturaro and Riccardo Orsolini are among those to have left.

While most top teams, including Atletico, opt to play six pre-season matches over the summer, Juventus will only have faced three top sides before commencing their 2019-20 campaign, alongside playing a traditional game known as the Partita in Famiglia - a match between Juventus A and Juventus B.

Their opening game was an entertaining affair - a 2-3 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur during which Ronaldo scored - before claiming a win over Inter Milan on penalties a few days later.

For Sarri, a pathological tactician, the most important thing for this summer will be how the team's shape looks on the training ground. The meeting with a defensively robust Atletico side serves as an ideal test to see how well the Serie A champions are acclimatising to their new manager's methods.

Recent form: DLDLWD

Team News

Cristiano Ronaldo scores Juventus' second goal against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League on March 12, 2019.© Reuters

Juventus head into the game relatively free of injury problems, with reserve goalkeeper Mattia Perin serving as the only long-term absentee having suffered a shoulder injury which looks set to keep him out until November.

Those keen to see Ramsey in black and white for the first time will have to wait as the Welshman continues to nurse a hamstring injury sustained back in April. He has not been able to feature at all in pre-season but is expected to make a return to action soon.

Atletico, on the other hand, have a number of players who will not feature on Saturday. Striker Alvaro Morata has been sidelined by a muscle injury but will be ready for the start of the La Liga season after making a return to training this week. Youngster Borja Garces is also back in training but not fit yet as he continues to recover from a knee injury. Nikola Kalinic is also set to miss out.

Jan Oblak has recovered from a groin affliction sustained at the end of last season, while the club's only long-term absentee is Sime Vrsaljko, with the latter set to be out until mid-December after undergoing surgery on a knee ligament problem at the end of January.

Atletico Madrid possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Trippier, Savic, Felipe, Lodi; Saul, Koke, Correa, Lemar; Felix, Costa

Juventus possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; Danilo, De Ligt, Bonucci, De Sciglio; Rabiot, Pjanic, Matuidi; Ronaldo, Bernardeschi, Higuain

Head To Head

Simeone will still have nightmares about Atletico's last encounter with Juventus, when the former took a 2-0 lead to Turin in the Champions League last 16 second-leg, only for a classic Ronaldo hat-trick to knock the Spanish side out of the tournament in dramatic late fashion.

Before that, the two sides last met during the 2014-15 Champions League group stages. Atletico won the game at home 1-0 courtesy of a goal from Arda Turan, with the clash in Italy ending 0-0. Juventus would go on to lose to Barcelona in the final of that year's competition.

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We say: Atletico Madrid 3-1 Juventus

Juventus have a remarkably exciting team but you get the feeling that, just like with Chelsea last season, the Italian side will need some time before fully aligning with Sarri's ideals - especially since this is only their third outing under the new boss.

Atletico, on the other hand, already seem like a well-drilled unit, with new signings such Felix and Trippier up and running over pre-season. It may only be a pre-season game, but Atletico will want to make a statement against the team that ended their European adventure last year.

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Juventus forward Moise Kean celebrates scoring the winner against AC Milan on April 6, 2019
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