This article is an archive from February 11, 2021.
Nicknamed the “Small Angel” by his mother, it’s rather fitting that Angelino has found his wings at RB Leipzig.
His stratospheric rise in the Bundesliga has completely reinterpreted the concept of the full-back. Angelino is a multifunctional weapon, and his bustling style is proving contagious.
RB Leipzig play an electrifying brand of football and Angelino is invariably at the heart of the action. The diminutive Spaniard has registered eight goals and 11 assists across all competitions in 2020/21 – further underscoring his pivotal importance to the team.
Yussuf Poulsen was expected to fill the void when Timo Werner joined Chelsea in the summer, while unrealistic hopes were pinned on Alexander Sorloth to replicate his goal-laden season at Trabzonspor.
Both have failed to meet expectations. Poulsen has scored a disappointing four times in the Bundesliga and Sorloth has mustered a mere two goals in 22 games. Angelino has undertaken the goal scoring responsibilities at the Red Bull Arena, already surpassing his own personal best season tally.
An expert in transition, Angelino is the brains of the operation. The foundation of his genius is his ability to put distance on his marker. RB Leipzig’s creativity comes from midfield craftsmen, Marcel Sabitzer and Emile Forsberg, while Poulsen or Sorloth pull defenders out of position.
Angelino is always waiting to pounce and with a top touchline tactician in the shape of Nagelsmann orchestrating play, his effectiveness has ascended almost game by game.
RB Leipzig also boast the strongest defence in the Bundesliga – leaking just 17 goals in 20 matches. Although Angelino is predominantly deployed in a more advanced role, RB Leipzig’s defensive stability provides him with the perfect platform to roam freely in the final third.
This may suggest that Angelino is more suited to playing as a wing-back and could once again become a weak link if he is crowbarred into a back-four at Manchester City.
He has publicly reaffirmed his desire to stay at RB Leipzig and Sport Bild has reported that his contract will be triggered if he plays against FC Augsburg on Friday.
A permanent move fell through in the summer after RB Leipzig were unable to afford his £25m valuation. Die Rotten Bullen are expected to pay a reported £17.5m fee to sign Angelino on a permanent basis.
RB Leipzig have developed a notorious reputation for providing foreign players with a platform to succeed in the Bundesliga. Their internal connection with Red Bull Salzburg has heralded Peter Gulasci, Dayot Upamecano, Konrad Laimer and Sabitzer among others.
They’ve also plucked talented French defenders, Nordi Mukiele and Ibrahima Konate, from Montpellier and Sochaux respectively, during the embryonic stages of their careers. Spanish players have become the new phenomenon in Leipzig with Angelino, Dani Olmo and Josep Martinez arriving in the last 13 months.
Die Rotten Bullen is very much a multicultural club. They fielded 11 foreign players from eight different countries as they comfortably prevailed 3-0 against SC Freiburg on MD7, and 89.8% of their minutes in the Bundesliga have been played by foreign exports, more than any other club.
Premier League exports have also been presented with opportunities they would be unlikely to find elsewhere. Oliver Burke, Ademola Lookman and Ethan Ampadu all had spells at the Red Bull Arena, and Sorloth is the latest to sport the white and red jersey, after two seasons at Crystal Palace.
Angelino is the very personification of this movement. RB Leipzig offer second chances and invariably reap the rewards. In his darkest hour he conjured up a light at the end of the tunnel and his rejection at Man City in now a distant memory.
With his permanent departure from Manchester on the horizon, the sky is the limit for Angelino.