Giuliano Simeone ran off to celebrate with his team-mates. He had just scored a brilliant goal that was eventually ruled out for offside. It was Atlético Madrid’s only goal of a friendly match that they went on to lose 1-0 against Salzburg. The goal was disallowed by VAR after Simeone smashed it across the goalkeeper and into the far corner of the net.

Two games, two strong showings. He is living up to his surname, making plenty of runs, fighting for the ball like his father fights for his team on the sideline. No Atlético player has taken advantage of the first two games of the summer pre-season schedule like he has.

Diego Pablo Simeone, Giuliano’s father, said in an interview with AS a week ago, that Giuliano is not there because of him. Giuliano has reached the first team on his own merits, because of what the coaches at the club have been seeing in him since 2019 when he arrived in the Juvenil División de Honor. Commitment, grit, not giving up on lost balls and determination. He has it in his blood and on the pitch.

There is a photo before his disallowed goal on Wednesday that shows it. Atlético’s match against Salzburg was essentially a game of men against boys. They, the Austrians, were vastly experienced, mostly first team players. Simeone named a youthful side. But there was Giuliano, who doesn’t know much about friendlies, just like his father, and he was beating one of the Salzburg players, who was a good few years older, bigger and stronger, down the touchline. That’s what Diego Simeone asks for when he sends out his troops on matchday.

Atleti are looking for a number 9, a player to help give Luis Suárez the rest that he will need in the new season. Maybe they have him in the youth team. Maybe he is here, among these youngsters who have spent the summer with Cholo, while the first team players fulfilled their international commitments. Giuliano, still just 18, has impressively started his stint in the first team. Man of the match in Soria at the weekend against Numancia and also in Austria with an assist and a goal, regardless of what VAR says.

Giuliano Simeone was once a ballboy for Atlético Madrid, now he has the chance to stake a claim for himself in the first-team squad.