New Atletico Madrid defender Martin Demichelis says he joined the club because of “sporting reasons”.
The 32-year-old moved to the Estadio Vicente Calderon from La Liga rivals Malaga on Thursday amid interest from boyhood club River Plate.
However, the Argentina international, who was out of contract at Malaga, still feels he can contribute at the highest level in Spain and Europe.
“After 10 years in Europe it was the first time I was out of contract so I felt a moral obligation to return to River, the club that helped form me,” he said on Friday.
“It was also a difficult decision to leave Malaga, a city that was always very welcoming to me and in which I experienced two and half very intense years.
“It was a very complicated and difficult because of those two clubs but throughout my career I have always made decisions based on sporting reasons.”
Atletico will play in the UEFA Champions League next season after a successful campaign last time out which saw them finish third in La Liga and clinch the Copa del Rey.
Demichelis believes he can not only provide competition for the current defenders in Diego Simeone’s squad but also play an important role himself.
“I know (Diego) Godin and Miranda have earned a lot of respect, they work well together and formed part of the most resilient defence last year. I’m ready for some healthy competition for a place on the team though, which I think will ultimately help maintain the quality of the team or even improve it,” he said.
“Playing in the Champions League is special for every player. It’s the most important club competition in the world so we are all fully aware of how special it is.
“Thanks to this club I can once again play in it and enjoy it, and I’m convinced that we’ll have a good run in this year’s Champions League.”
Demichelis made 45 appearances in all competitions last season, as Malaga reached the Champions League quarter-finals and finished sixth in La Liga.
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