Inter Milan might have won the Scudetto but Atalanta did their very best till the very end to prevent that from happening, Gasperini has done a really admirable job in pushing Atalanta to the place they are right now but a lot of that credit for their brilliant performance in the Serie A also goes to Colombian Ace Luis Muriel. The Colombian Striker has scored 18 times in the league only to be outscored by Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku.
Luis Muriel was simply sensational as he helped Atalanta climb to second place in the Serie A!
— Real Fantasy Teams (@RealFantasyTeam) April 30, 2021
Muriel is currently a player for the Colombian International Team, representing his nation at a full international level since 2012. He made his senior international debut in the year June 2012, in a World Cup qualifying match against Ecuador and he scored his first goal tin the year 2013, scoring against Guatemala. He later took played in the 2015 and 2019 editions of the Copa América, and then the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Due to Gasperini’s preference for a solitary striker, Muriel has found regular first-team chances hard to come by at Atalanta, Muriel is not your average Centre Forward because he offers a team lot more than that. He was looked at as an Attacking Midfielder in his earlier youth days in the Serie A. He mainly played as a second striker, off the shoulder of the last defender. Muriel has never been strong aerially and that is one of the reasons why he struggles for regular playing time in the Atalanta team. Gasperini prefers a tall and strong target man who can actually get on the end of crosses and convert them.
Just heard that Inter Milan goalkeeper, Samir Handanovic, said he didn't save this ridiculously well-taken free kick by Fiorentina's Luis Muriel this past weekend because of the wind.
THE DUDE BLAMED THE WIND.
I'm blaming the wind for everything that goes wrong in my life now. pic.twitter.com/CoNOi7rMei
— Jimmy Conrad (@JimmyConrad) February 25, 2019
Muriel might not be one of the tall, strong striker, but he is technically gifted and his playing style is a lot like Ronaldo Lima of Brazil. He depends on hid speed off the ball and his brilliant positional awareness to get in the right places and knock in with goals. He is a lethal finisher scoring a whopping 25% of his shots, that is 1 in 4 shots he attempts ends up in the back of the net. This is seen in his impressive tally of 18 goals in just 12 starts.
Muriel is usually deployed as a Centre Forward but he is more than capable to play on either wings as well, he is a versatile, technically gifted Centre Forward who mainly relies on his pace, dribbling skills, clever movement, positional play, technical abilities to score and assist goals.
Gasperini in an interview said “Muriel has the quality of a ‘top’ player, this year even more. He has a mental, physical, athletic condition, confidence, made a formidable quality leap”, it clearly shows how highly the Colombian is rated under the Italians eyes.
During his youth days, Muriel was often praised by the media for his outsanding performances during his early career in Italy’s first division, which led to him winning the Serie A Best Young Revelation Award in 2012. Having started his professional career with Colombian side Deportivo Cali in Categoria Primera A, Muriel joined Udinese. His early two seasons at the club saw him loaned out to Granada and Lecce before coming back to Udinese in 2012, in that season he won the Serie A Best Young Revelation award alongside Stephan El Shaaraway. After scoring a massive 15 league goals in 57 appearances.
2011: James Rodriguez, Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel celebrating a goal at U20 World Cup.⠀
2020: James Rodriguez, Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel celebrating a goal at World Cup 2022 Qualifiers.⠀
— Bee Sports (@BeeSports_app) October 10, 2020
Muriel represented Colombia at U20 level and featured for the nation at the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup alongside Duvan Zapata and James Rodriguez for which Colombia were the host nation. In the U20 World Cup, having scored a brace against France, he scored the decider of the match against Colombia as Colombia defeated Korea Republic 1–0 to progress from the group stages with a perfect record. Muriel scored four goals in the tournament before Mexico knocked Colombia out in the quarter finals.
WHERE DOES MURIEL FIT IN GASPERINI’S TACTICS
Gasperini usually sets up a 3-4-3 or a 3-5-2 with either Ruslan Malinovskyi and Pasalic playing behind Zapata or Ilicic playing up top in a 2 striker formation with Zapata and in majority of the formations, Muriel is the one who is left out because Gasperini wants a target man up front. Gasperini’s Atalanta is a counter attacking, Counter pressing side and the pace of Muriel is one of the biggest assets for them, especially with Muriel coming late in the when all the players are already tired and leggy.
Luis Muriel forever underrated https://t.co/6VChJYiRiI
— FUT Stephen A (@FutStephenA) April 25, 2021
Muriel ticks all the boxes to play in Gasperini side, he’s very quick, he’s technically superb and can score goals from all areas. He’s also well-suited to the high-tempo game that Gasperini deploys.
Colombian Ace Luis Muriel might still have a good 3 years in his prime and it is about time he leaves Atalanta to play for a top European team, where he could establish himself as a starter.