[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ince Diego Simeone took control at Atlético Madrid in December 2011, the capital city side have been on an amazing upward trajectory.
In that time, countless players have joined the Estadio Vicente Calderón outfit.
Some, such as the mercurial Antoine Griezmann, have turned out as unprecedented successes and key in the club’s achievements; others have not lived up to their expectations.
However, despite Atlético looking completely different as a club now to the one that the Argentine coach took over back in 2011, one of its most-valuable assets remains from the pre-Simeone days.
Diego Godín may well not be among the most-glamorous players on the capital city side’s books but there is a case in question to state that he is the most important.
Regardless of Griezmann, Diego Costa, Radamel Falcao, Arda Turan and the other excellent attacking players that have played for Atleti in Simeone’s tenure, there is little doubting the club’s success has been based around defence.
While the Clásico sides have supporters in awe with their unprecedented attacking weaponry, Atlético have gone toe-to-toe with Barcelona and Real Madrid with a solid rearguard, organisation and heart.
This collective resolve and discipline is epitomised by Godín, who despite not being the club captain, is their defensive leader.
The Uruguay international is continually at the centre of Atlético soaking up pressure, especially in the Champions League, and successfully overcoming it.
His partnership with fellow South American Joao Miranda was central in Los Rojiblancos ending a horrible record against cross-city rivals Madrid and winning Simeone’s first pieces of silverware.
Since the Brazilian has been offloaded to Inter Milan, Godín has mentored and led a new central defensive partner – compatriot Jose Maria Giminez.
This Uruguayan pairing will be crucial in Atlético’s continued presence among Spanish and European elite, with the elder statesman’s importance sizeable.
Godín entered European club football when he joined Villarreal in 2007 and was ensnared by the capital city side in 2010 for a modest fee of €8 million.
Over six years at Atlético the Uruguayan central defender has played in Champions League finals and won five titles, including La Liga and the Europa League.
At international level he has amassed over 100 caps, won the Copa America and played in the World Cup.
Godín is certainly not the most enviable player and at times he can look unlikeable or downright unsporting.
There is perhaps a cynical edge to the South American – but this is generally an element to most top defenders.
However, his reading of the game, commitment to the cause and positional ability are second to none, while he is a leader of men and a winner.
When Atlético step out next season and look to once more defy logic and compete with Barcelona, Real Madrid and European football’s elite, Simeone’s side will be full of notable, international players.
However, despite the calibre of his team-mates, Godín is arguably the most important player in the Atleti team and deserves to be considered among the best in the world in his position.
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