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Gabi, Atletico reach contract agreement

Gabi has agreed to sign a new Atletico Madrid contract, according to club president Enrique Cerezo and the player.

The captain’s deal was due to expire in June 2017, but the 33-year-old midfielder now appears set to stay for at least one more season, as Atleti prepare to move from the Vicente Calderon to a new stadium for the 2017-18 campaign.

Speaking during a Cadena SER television programme broadcast from Atleti’s historic home, Cerezo indicated negotiations had reached their conclusion, although the club is yet to formally confirm the extension.

“We have reached an agreement with Gabi to continue at Atletico Madrid,” he said.

The player himself, who was also appearing on the show, said: “We already had an agreement and it has always been easy when we talked.

“While I can perform at the level required by Atletico, I’ll be here.”

Sporting director Jose Luis Caminero added: “He knows he will be with us for as long as he wants.”

Gabi also underlined the importance of the team, who won LaLiga in 2014 and have reached two of the last three Champions League finals, losing to cross-city rivals Real Madrid on both occasions, pushing for trophies during their final months playing at the Calderon. 

“We are in one of the most important moments of Atletico’s history,” he said.

“We want to give this ground the farewell it deserves.”

Atleti’s Saul Niguez withdrew from the Spain squad due to injury this week, prompting Julen Lopetegui to call up uncapped Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera for the World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Albania. 

That decision prompted consternation among Atleti supporters, who want to see veteran Gabi earn international recognition before hanging up his boots. 

“I’m still waiting for my chance to prove I can help,” he said.

Tue 4 Oct, 2016
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