Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul is convinced the club’s current squad is the best he can remember and has urged his team-mates to prove that in Saturday’s La Liga opener against promoted Las Palmas.
Despite seeing a host of talented players leaving since the end of last season, Atletico have struck some eye-catching deals in the transfer market and will hoping to set down a marker when the Canary Islands outfit visit.
Miranda, Mario Mandzukic, Arda Turan and Mario Suarez were just some of the names to depart, but in Jackson Martinez, Luciano Vietto, Yannick Ferreira Carrasco and others, Las Palmas are sure to be made aware of the step up in class from La Segunda.
And in an attempt to bring further apprehension to Paco Herrera’s men, Saul is confident Atletico’s current crop are a gifted bunch.
The 20-year-old said: “This might be the most talented squad I can remember. The club has done a great job with the signings and incorporating such great players.
“We don’t have a main objective. Las Palmas are a great team. It’ll be very difficult and we will try for the win as we would against any team.
“It’s a difficult start but what we need to think about first is Las Palmas, and not to look further.”
Atletico embark on their mission of staging a challenge for the Liga title at home to their recently promoted counterparts and will be fully expected to make a winning start.
Diego Simeone’s men picked up maximum points against the three promoted teams last term and anything other than a repeat on Saturday will mark a stunning start to life back in La Liga for Las Palmas.
The Gran Canaria side’s last stint in the top flight ended in 2002 following two years rubbing shoulders with the elite and many of the years between have seen them struggle, with things looking particularly gloomy during a couple of seasons in the third tier.
Nevertheless, under former Celta Vigo coach Herrera, Las Palmas have some talented individuals and will be confident of at least causing the Atletico defence some difficulties with the likes of Sergio Araujo and Jonathan Viera.
But their most noteworthy star comes in the shape of former Atletico and Spain playmaker Juan Carlos Valeron and the 40-year-old is looking forward to making his return to La Liga at a former stomping ground.
He told AS: “I take things as naturally and as normally as possible. If there’s a gesture of affection towards me I will appreciate it, and if not [it doesn’t matter].
“Wearing the Atletico shirt is something not everyone can do and for me it was incredible – very special. The club will always be in my heart.”
Las Palmas are expected to hand debuts to Pedro Bigas, Javier Garrido and Antolin Alcaraz, though Willian Jose (ankle) looks set to miss out on his first competitive appearance.
Atletico, meanwhile, will only be without Thomas Partey (ankle).
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