When the No.6 appeared on the fourth official’s board on Sunday and Koke was withdrawn, a lot of people who know Atletico Madrid were left surprised.
Diego Simeone decided to substitute his midfielder for the second time this season, but it was also the second consecutive game that he started and didn’t finish.
In midweek in the Champions League he came off with Los Rojiblancos leading 2-0 and with just minutes remaining, but at Real Valladolid he was replaced after the hour mark having failed to take control of the game.
That game at Real Valladolid was appearance 425 for him, taking him up to fifth in Atletico‘s list of all-time appearance makers.
It was the first time in LaLiga Santander this season that he hasn’t finished a match, though, receiving 25 minutes of rest.
Looking further back, the last time Simeone decided to sit Koke on the bench came in February, when they boasted a two-goal lead against Villarreal and he came off with Atletico waiting to face Juventus.
Koke won’t feature for Spain in this month’s international games, with Roberto Moreno only taking Saul with his squad.
The break will allow him to get back to his best and become immovable in Simeone‘s plans.