Reinildo, the hero Atlético needed

Reinildo Mandava. Few Atlético fans knew his name when Andrea Berta focused her winter efforts on him to reinforce the left back. The Mozambican reached the last six months of his contract with Lille and He was free to sign as a rojiblanco for this 2022-23 season. His previous course, closed as the best left back in the French league, was his best guarantee, but he needed to confirm himself. Once the agreement was closed, the player and the club got down to work to speed up the signing of him in that same January and, after getting it on the 31stin less than a year has become one of the great historical successes of Atlético.

Y in Bilbao he left his biggest exhibition so far as a mattress. A Reinildo who has always been an example of self-improvement and has assembled wonderfully in the locker room thanks to his humility and collective work. In silence, it has become essential for Simeone from day one, adapting to the line of three central to solve equipment problems back and forth returning for large periods of these last games to the left backwhere he is always safe at the back and when possible he goes up the flank with strength and speed, as in Correa’s first goal against Girona.

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In Bilbao, his task was different. Nico Williams, one of the fittest players in LaLiga, is mediated. Athletic always generates danger on its right wing, also with the falls of his brother Iñaki, and Atlético started with a rear four behind, but being Nahuel Molina the side that was deployed in attack and Reinildo who guarded his back in defense along with Savic and Giménez, with Lemar collaborating on the side. And it can be said that Nico lived a night of nightmare. Reinildo was his shadow and practically never allowed him to get away with it. The young Athletic player did not stop facing him and trying to leave because of his speed and individual quality, but he had a wall in front of him that came out victorious over and over again. Unsurpassed in duels, in melee and in divided balls, Reinildo Mandava prevailed play after play, eating the morale of the Athletic brothers.

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And, if his game was already outstanding, Reinildo also dressed as a hero as a second Grbic. The Croatian had entered due to Oblak’s injury and did his part with two big hands. But, where the goalkeeper could not reach, there was already his guardian angel. Reinildo made three goal cuts on his goal. First with a double parry, cutting down and then with the face. A ball that practically would have knocked out any player, but the Mozambican got up as if nothing happened to reassure his teammates after Figueroa Vázquez had awarded a penalty. There was no problem, the VAR was going to correct him because he had hit him on the chin. And it didn’t take long for the referee to agree with him and withdraw the card.

Finally, a loose ball in the area fell to Raúl García. Goal play undoubtedly. When the exatlético was preparing to pick up the ball from the net, another saving leg from Reinildo appeared. A spectacular cut and worth two points. Without making noise, covering covers or raising your voice, the San Mamés exhibition, closed with the MVP award, confirms Reinildo as one of the great defenders of LaLiga. His late arrival to the elite has detracted from international recognition. After the death of his father, he decided to stay in Mozambique. “I didn’t get out of there until I lost my mother, I owed her everything; then i thought of myself”, recognized Reinildo in AS. Until he was 24 years old he had not been seen in a European first division and accumulated loans from Benfica. He even reached France. At Lille he became a defensive bulwark and at Atlético he has endorsed his level as a world-class defender. Reinildo and the three million winter are already one of the great bargains of the latest transfer markets.

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