Miguel Angel Moya Covering Up Atletico Madrid's Baffling Jan Oblak Situation

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentSeptember 15, 2014

Atletico de Madrid's goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya celebrates a goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014 . (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
Daniel Ochoa de Olza/Associated Press

Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya was projected to sit on the bench backing up major signing Jan Oblak.

However, Moya has kept Oblak waiting in what is turning into a nightmarish start for the most expensive goalkeeper in La Liga history. 

Miguel Ángel Moyá @M_A_Moya

Quiero compartir mi primer titulo y mi alegria con todos vosotros! #Campeones #AupaAtleti http://t.co/zEmQknDdLz

Hugo Condés @HugoCondesM

Presentación d Jan Oblak en el Calderón, el nuevo 13 del Atléti... http://t.co/KXfWJEDQTE

Phil Kitromilides @PhilKitro

The 16million Euros that @Atleti are paying Benfica for Jan Oblak make him the most expensive goalkeeper in the history of La Liga.

Atleti signed Moya from Getafe to be another Dani Aranzubia, a goalkeeper who backed up Chelsea loanee Thibaut Courtois.

Atleti VAVEL @Atleti_VAVEL

Courtois: "Me siento jugador del Atlético de Madrid, no del Chelsea" http://t.co/7d7N1E6UFB | http://t.co/P3EJFpxIsf

Kristof Terreur 📰 @HLNinEngeland

Forgot 1 important word: Atlético Madrid have signed Miguel Moya, (Getafe) as back-up GK as Thibaut Courtois will probably return to CFC.

A more palpable comparison is Moya was meant to be Sander Westerveld.

In 2004, Mallorca's goalkeeping job was being contested by Moya, then an up-and-coming 20-year-old, and the experienced Westerveld, Liverpool's former No. 1.

Mallorca opted for youth in picking Moya, like Atleti did with Courtois. 

"If I am to play here it depends what happens with Moya," Westerveld said, per Marca (h/t ESPN FC). "If he remains, I will not be able to stay at Mallorca."

Moya, who had represented Spain alongside Andres Iniesta and Fernando Torres at the 2001 FIFA U-17 World Championship, was a promising goalkeeper monitored by various major European clubs.

Andres Iniesta (No. 8), Fernando Torres (No. 14), Miguel Angel Moya (No. 18).
Andres Iniesta (No. 8), Fernando Torres (No. 14), Miguel Angel Moya (No. 18).Credit: FIFA.com

One of those teams was Arsenal hence why Westerveld said "it depends what happens with Moya."

"It makes me proud that they [Arsenal] are looking at me, but my priority is Mallorca and survival," Moya said, per AS (h/t Mark Kendall at Sky Sports). "I am a Mallorca fan and what would excite me most in the future is a great, strong Mallorca team."

While Iniesta and Torres made decisive strides in their careers, Moya's future was not great.

Persistent injuries diminished Moya's transfer stock, per Francisco Acedo at Sky Sports:

Real Mallorca's highly-rated shot stopper Miguel Angel Moya has been sidelined for a minimum of six weeks after suffering a knee injury.

Moya will now undergo surgery on Tuesday in a bid to correct the problem ahead of the new La Liga season.

The injury blow comes soon after Moya committed his future to the club after attracting interest from a number of big clubs.

Considered damaged goods, Moya exacerbated his decline by making a regrettable choice in moving to Valencia:

  • Failed to displace veteran Cesar Sanchez.
  • The rise of Vicente Guaita and the signing of Diego Alves ensured Moya had no future at Valencia.
  • Moya was dealt to Getafe on loan in order to facilitate Valencia's signing of Dani Parejo.
  • Getafe later extended Moya's loan into a permanent deal. 

Last season, Moya's fitness came under scrutiny again due to knee "ligament damage," per COPE (h/t Tom Conn at Inside Spanish Football).

What prompted Atleti to sign Moya from Getafe?

Was he Keylor Navas great? No. 

Navas led La Liga in saves (141, per Squawka) and saved 91 percent of shots faced at the FIFA World Cup for Costa Rica, per OptaJoe, so his move from Levante to Real Madrid made perfect sense.

Unlike Navas, there was nothing extraordinary about Moya's displays for Getafe.

Moya was not a world-class shot-stopper considering his constant failings to come up big against penalty takers in the past two seasons.

Penalty scorer, December 22, 2013: Then-Barcelona (now Chelsea) central attacking midfielder Cesc Fabregas.

Penalty scorer, September 22, 2013: Real Madrid left-forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

Penalty scorer, January 27, 2013: Real Madrid left-forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

Penalty scorer, January 14, 2013: Then-Granada (now Atleti) left-back Guilherme Siqueira.

Penalty scorer, January 14, 2013: Then-Granada (now Atleti) left-back Guilherme Siqueira.

Penalty scorer, September 16, 2012: Barcelona deep-lying forward Lionel Messi.

While Moya was not a difference-maker against penalty-takers, he was statistically solid for Getafe.

  • He averaged 3.2 saves last season, per Squawka.
OptaJose @OptaJose

1,81 – Only Esteban (1,84) made more saves from outside box per match than Moyá in the last Spanish league (min. 10 games). Sign

  • During the 2012-13 season, Moya made the third most saves in La Liga, per Squawka.
Fútbol Mahou @futbolmahou

RT o FAV si crees que Moyá ha sido el #Jugador5EstrellasATM del @Atleti en el partido de hoy http://t.co/sMsYtcNYjq

The poster boy of an overachiever, Moya has been on his A-game for Atleti.

When Atleti's wall failed to block the free-kick of Real Madrid right-forward Gareth Bale, Moya intervened with a diving left-handed save. 

A breakdown in Atleti's defence resulted in a header for Real Madrid centre-forward Karim Benzema.

But, he was promptly denied by Moya, who demonstrated excellent positioning. 

As Villareal's Rayo Vallecano loanee Javier Aquino sped down the flank, no Atleti player applied pressure.

The Mexican international delivered a dipping cross to Rayo substitute Manucho whose uncontested header was acrobatically saved by Moya.

Moya demonstrated his brilliant reflexes palming away Eibar left-winger Javi Lara's fiercely struck free-kick.

Since being installed as Atleti's No. 1, Moya has played above his €3/£2.4 million valuation.

His early success reinforces how brilliant a motivator Atleti manager Diego Simeone is. 

Predicted to be a bench warmer, Simeone's trust in Moya has turned him into the €16/£12.8 million-valued goalkeeper Atleti believe Oblak will become.

Did Simeone even want Oblak? 

Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira brazenly claimed Atleti attempted to sell Oblak back. 

"It was a surprise that Oblak ran away again, but life is full of surprises and they [Atleti] have offered us the player again," Vieira said, per Marca. "We don't want him. Twice bitten, thrice shy."

Though, Atleti "categorically denied the claims," per Luis Aznar and Kike Sampedro at Marca.

Atleti rolled out the red carpet for Courtois, whose playing rights were owned by Chelsea, yet Oblak—a once-in-a-generation goalkeeper like Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen—is benched. 

Moya's clutch saves are a welcome distraction to a vexing situation Oblak has found himself in.

Sergi Domínguez @FutbolSergi

Diego Simeone wants to sell Oblak due to the 'keeper having injuries issues. Benfica president said: "Atleti offered us Oblak. We rejected."

Rik Sharma @riksharma_

Moya playing over Oblak is interesting. Could be some truth in Simeone wanting to send him back to Benfica. Not that he can now (Cesar).

There is a likeness to Liverpool's goalkeeping conundrum in 2001, per Charlie Norton at The Telegraph:

Manager Gerard Houllier signed Chris Kirkland from Coventry City for £5 million, rising with appearances to £8 million—a British record fee for a goalkeeper—and Polish international Jerzy Dudek from Feyenoord for £4.8 million. 


Reports suggest that there were medical doubts over Dudek on Thursday night, forcing Liverpool to approach the safer option of Kirkland.

But when Dudek was given the all-clear yesterday, Houllier decided to sign him as well on a five-year deal, owing to Kirkland's relative inexperience.

20 Feb 2002:  Chris Kirkland of Liverpool during the Liverpool v Galatasary UEFA Champions League Group B, Second phase match at Anfield, Liverpool. DIGITAL IMAGE Mandatory Credit: Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Dudek praised Kirkland's upside, but dropped an ominous quote, per Paul Eaton at Liverpool's official website: "The future is for him, but who knows when that future will arrive?"

It never arrived.

"I don't want people to be talking about my potential anymore," Kirkland said, per the Liverpool Echo. "It gets hard reading about what I can do for Liverpool and England because I still haven't done it yet."

Dudek went on to play 186 times for Liverpool and his performance in the 2005 UEFA Champions League final victory over AC Milan ensured "his name will forever be etched in Liverpudlian folklore," per Liverpool's official website.

THOMAS KIENZLE/Associated Press

Once ordained as England's future No. 1, injuries and lack of playing time destroyed Kirkland's Liverpool dreams.

He later found solace at Wigan Athletic and is now the backup to Keiren Westwood at Championship team Sheffield Wednesday.

Moya is Atleti's present and the future is for Oblak, "but who knows when the future will arrive?"



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