Saturday, November 18, 2017

Simeone reveals why he extended his Atletico deal: I asked for no one to be sold

SoccerNews in La Liga 7 Sep 2017

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Diego Simeone decided to extend his Atletico Madrid after the club followed his wish not to sell any key players during their transfer embargo.

Atleti have held onto the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Saul Niguez and Koke during a ban from registering new players over the past two transfer windows due to breaches of regulations regarding the signing of foreign players under the age of 18.

Griezmann turned down the chance to join Manchester United due to the sanctions imposed on the Spanish side, while Saul was linked with a switch to LaLiga rivals Barcelona.

But Atleti’s ability to retain their star names convinced Simeone to sign a two-year contract extension on Tuesday, despite last year agreeing to cut the same amount off his deal amid speculation he was heading for the exit.

“If they put me in a situation where they said Griezmann, Saul and Koke would go and we would have a lot of money and we would have to go looking for players, or none of these will go and we cannot sign anyone, I have no doubt I would have chosen the second, because they are extraordinary players,” the Argentine said in an official club interview.

“When there are extraordinary players there is always room for improvement. The arrival of guys who were on loan made us good, or the improvement of players like [Stefan] Savic, [Kevin] Gameiro, [Sime] Vrsaljko, [Nicolas] Gaitan, who this year have more chances to prove why they are at this club.

“When I got the message that the club could not make any signings, the only thing I asked the club is not to sell anyone. That’s how it was. That’s why we continue to be together.”

Simeone is now tied to the club until 2020 and remains excited by the prospect for improvement, citing moving to their new home at the Wanda Metropolitano as an important step.

He said: “The club has been growing a lot since we started in 2011 and I have always seen the possibility of enormous improvement.

“Many said to me, ‘Well, you’re going to renew with Atleti again, who’ve always had problems, and the next season will not be good,’ and I never believed that.

“I always believed in the club because I knew them and I always believed in the players that we had to keep improving the club.

“When I renewed, I felt, and feel, the same excitement. I feel much more energetic than when I started because I know more about the club and the players I have.

“The change of stadium always generates dissatisfaction at the beginning, but when you see this stadium [the Metropolitano], when you see the growth of the club, you like to grow.”

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