Samuel Lino: Atletico Madrid’s Brazilian Phenom

After a season that would see them finish third in the league and fail to defend their league crown as well as finish bottom in their Champions League group, Atlético Madrid have managed to dust themselves off with an impressive start to the 2023/24 season that has seen them take 31 points from 14 matches, and one player who has proven vital is Samuel Lino.


Born in Santo André, Brazil, he spent three years at São Bernardo, including a season-long loan at Flamengo, before heading to Gil Vicente in 2019. It took him a while to make his mark on the other side of the Atlantic, but the 2021/22 season would see him emerge as a vital cog on the left side of attack, chipping in with 12 goals and 5 assists in 34 appearances as Gil finished fifth, sealing European football for the first time in club history.


Atleti took notice and signed Lino before immediately loaning him out to Valencia. For the second straight season, he played in every single league match and registered 6 goals and 2 assists, before heading back to the Wanda Metropolitano. With Yannick Carrasco departing and Reinildo Mandava suffering a long-term injury, Diego Simeone decided to take a gamble on Lino at the left wingback position, and it has paid off.

General Info



Lino is a very athletic and strong player. The Brazilian is very important to Simeone’s side, standing at 5’8″ and weighing 158 Pounds is a very lethal player with his pace, and he has been rotated at different positions this season under Simeone, despite forward/winger being the player’s preferred position, he has excelled as a left wingback for Los Colchoneros on multiple occasions this season.



Lino uses his athleticism at his best and using his speed along with it allows him to exploit the wide lines of the pitch up and down, he is a very attacking player looking to pounce upon open spaces within the field, and he often looks to cut inside in front of the 18-yard box allowing players to make open runs or for himself to find chances to finish the ball. When played as Left Back he still looks to penetrate the opponent’s defence by stretching the field of play by making overlapping and inverted runs up top.


We will go into the scout report of the player as his stats in the visualization will be highlighted in gold for easy identification. This ideology will be applied throughout the analysis piece. Forward/Mid-Field/Defenders having played more than 25-90s will be taken into account for comparisons.


Attacking Analysis


Lino has started 4 of the 7 Games in the ongoing 2023-2024 La Liga season and has made 3 Goal Contributions (1 Goal and 2 Assists) so far. Let’s take a look at the Brazilian’s shot map for much more information about the player’s ability to finish.



Lino is a very dangerous player with the ball at his feet looking to dance away from the players and he is never afraid of taking multiple tries to search for the missing piece in his team, the stats indicate that Lino often looks for goal around a 10m radius of the 18-yard line.


His technique is a concerning quality to look out for as he often looks uncomfortable at the time of striking the ball, he seems unbalanced most of the time leading to spilling out opportunities on taking the advantage. He has a good striking ability and brute force on the ball that helps him finish in chances that have a higher chance of finding the net.




Samuel Lino involves himself in and around the 18-yard box, making it very difficult for a defender to keep him quiet. The 23-year-old is incredible when it comes to positioning himself allowing his teammates to pick him out, has been one of the main reasons for him to have so many touches in and around the penalty area.


His decision-making in front of the goal is another quality to look at as he often takes much upon himself to try and find the goal. He puts himself in complex situations, by not releasing the ball at the right moment leading the opponents to get the ball back. He is still young and with years to come which would help him in gaining experience and finish qualities, he has all it takes to become a world-class player for his club and country.



The Brazilian is very composed when it comes to making forward runs and was only called offsides 15 times last season, showing his calm and composing nature when making decisive decisions in order to keep the ball moving to find those little spaces and pockets.



Samuel Lino is a defender’s nightmare as he always tends to outrun them with his quick feet and put the goalkeeper into greater concentration as he never gives them a moment of rest. He has completed more than 15 carries into the penalty area than Alvaro Garcia. He shows an excellent quality of holding onto the ball and shielding it away from the opposing defenders when they try to press them, his quick feet and pace help him stride past them making it hard for them to trace back and get into position.


Midfield Analysis


To begin with his midfield contribution, we will look into a scatter plot between Touches in Mid-3rd vs Carries into Attacking-3rd.



Lino has been one of the best signings for the Los Colchoneros in recent times. He has not touched the ball compared to many players in the league but has been explosive when he is involved in the field of play. He drops down in many situations in order to help his team in build-up play. His pace helps his team in picking on quick counters and transitions leading to many goals this season. 



Despite being right-footed he has the natural ability to play with both his feet making him a very powerful weapon for Diego Simeone’s side. His pace and ability to shift his momentum have helped him beat defenders at ease but as said before, his decision-making on when to release the ball is another major concern to concentrate on to help him reach his potential, He uses his natural instincts when dribbling which helps him pull out the defender putting them in a higher rate of committing first but Lino has just recorded a little less than 50% percent of his attempt Take-Ons showing that he still has to work on the final touch. 



Lino is a very dynamic player; he has a strong ability to shield the ball away from defenders but what makes him one of the highlighted players is, his ability to position himself well to move the ball around and make that final pass or create new moves. The one point where Lino falls short is his lack of awareness in knowing the position and finding his teammates with the final pass. His dribbling technique is fun to watch but he has a higher risk of getting injured as he draws the opponents to make the challenge resulting in a foul, he has drawn over 60 fouls in a single season (2022-2023) is quite concerning.



The Brazilian loves to go in and around the sidelines of the penalty area and likes to twist and turn players before sending out the crosses inside the box. He has recorded more than 80 crosses but he has made only one assist last season (2022-2023) giving less than 0.2 xA/90 (Expected Assists) leaving him with one of the worst numbers in the league. His balls lack quality as they end up either being too short or too far, they may come with more pace making it difficult for his teammates to finish. He either makes it too late or fails to find his teammates within the box but when he is able to find them, he is one among the best.  



He might not have made plenty of through balls in the league but he is one of the best passers in the Spanish league, his ability to draw players out and release the ball out to find his teammates has been seen frequently. He is very quick in playing those one-two / wall passes to help his team break out tight spaces and high pressing. He tends to receive the ball on the sidelines and move inside making it even harder for the defenders to mark him, boasting a similar dribbling style to Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne.


Defensive Analysis


Lino is a natural dribbler and he always moves up and down the pitch for the entire 90 but it has been a surprise as he become a regular left back this season for Simeone’s side in the ongoing 2023-2024 season. Let’s take a look into a scatter plot for Tackles won vs Tackles attempted.



Samuel Lino is very good at making those split-second decisions to win the ball back, he holds himself in position inviting the opponent into his safe point in order to win the ball back. He has recorded over 75% success rate in tackles, showing his ability to fight the ball back. Even though he involves himself a lot in the build-up and attack, he tracks back into position after his team is dispossessed and rarely leaves his center back deserted when defending counterattacks.



Diego Simeone likes players who press up top and are not afraid to make challenges. Atlético Madrid have been renowned for their stern defensive setups, but recently, they’ve been making a name for themselves as a team that presses intensely to win the ball back and that is capable of wreaking havoc on the counter.


Lino has been able to make the adjustment and excel at Atleti thanks to an impressive footballing IQ that allows him to read the game well and cut out passes and make impulsive tackles. He has been one of the best in winning the ball back for his team in the Spanish top flight. Atleti drops to a back 5 when they are off-possession allowing Lino to take the place of an inverted left back. Again, his off-ball positioning has been at the top allowing him quick enough to pounce onto the loose touches made by the opponents.



In the defending 3rd he delays too much making it an advantage for the opponent to cut into the penalty area as he still lacks experience in knowing to go and give in to a challenge. He is good at covering the ground and spaces, but he lacks awareness of putting his skill set into use.



Lino has won less than 30% of his aerial duels which is a major concern, considering the dangers that could come in the form of crosses or corners, but whilst he still has plenty of work to do defensively, he has shown plenty of positive signs in the left wingback position with 3 goals and 4 assists in 13 matches for Atleti, including 1 goals and 2 assists in 3 Champions League appearances. Playing in Europe’s premier competition for the first time in his career, Lino is running high on confidence and impressing for Simeone’s side, and he could be vital for them as they look to reclaim their domestic throne.


By: Sive Vishwa / @Sive_vishwa

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / NurPhoto