It has been a difficult first year with Atleti for Mexican midfielder Hector Herrera. After a very successful six year-run in Portuguese club Oporto, he became a free agent, opting to leave the club in favor of signing for the Spanish club in July of last year. He arrived with high expectations and hoped to earn a starting spot on the team in no time.
But this season has gone far from the way he expected, as he has participated in only 22 out of the 38 total games the club have played thus far, and only 14 of them as a starter, before the season was suspended due to the COVID outbreak. He has only scored one goal and recorded one assist. Definitely not what anyone and he in the very least expected.
He was sidelined on the bench for seven out of the first nine games of La Liga, and didn’t start playing regularly until mid-November. Unfortunately, an issue with his adductor muscle caused him to be absent for the entire month of February. He only got to play one complete Champions League match in the group stages and missed both games vs. Liverpool due to his injury as well. It has been a rough outing so far, no doubt.
In the remote press conference following today’s training session, Herrera stated, “My future is here. I have a contract for a few more years and that doesn’t allow me to think about anything else other than having an important role here, because I live in the present and not the future.”
Is he making the right decision by giving it another shot with Simeone and company? Recent history suggests he isn’t. To start off, Simeone has had doubts about his newly acquired midfielder, especially considering the competition he has with his teammates, such as Koke, Thomas Lemar, Saúl Ñíguez, and even youngster Marcos Llorente, which don’t make it any easier when coming back from injuries or trying to convince your coach to give you a chance.