Atletico Madrid are looking to reinforce their squad in the January transfer window with cost-effective signings and have set their sights on former FC Barcelona forward Abel Ruiz.
This report comes from Portuguese publication A Bola, as relayed by Diario AS, who claim that the SC Braga striker has emerged on the radars of the Rojiblancos ahead of the winter trading period.
Ruiz started out at the Valencia academy before signing for Barcelona’s La Masia youth setup in 2012. Having risen through the ranks at the Catalan club, he made 68 appearances for their reserve team and managed one senior appearance.
Ruiz joined SC Braga on loan in January 2020, before the transfer was made permanent later that year. Since joining the club, the 22-year-old has made 111 appearances for the Portuguese outfit, scoring 21 and assisting 11 goals.
The Spaniard has five goal involvements in 21 matches in the ongoing campaign and while those numbers are not impressive, it seems like the young forward has caught the attention of Atletico Madrid.
Los Rojiblancos are likely to make some tweaks to their squad in the January window in order to balance the books. But at the same time, they want to ensure that there is no lack of depth and compensate for the departures with cost-effective signings.
Matheus Cunha and Joao Felix are two players that are the most heavily linked with exits. Their potential departures would weaken the attacking unit which is where Abel Ruiz enters the picture.
However, the report indicates that SC Braga will demand a sum of €20 million for the former Barcelona striker. Whether Atletico Madrid will have the financial wherewithal to meet those demands will be interesting to see.
Atletico Madrid midfielder on the derby against Real Madrid: “Very difficult to beat them”
Following a 1-1 draw in their Champions League opener against Lazio, Atletico Madrid will shift all their attention to La Liga, as they brace themselves for the derby against Real Madrid this weekend.
Heading into this game, Atleti midfielder Marcos Llorente spoke about Real Madrid’s quality and Atletico Madrid’s chances of squeezing all three points from this iconic derby.
Llorente on Madrid derby
“The sensations are good. The team is very good, the other day we played a great game despite ending up drawing. I really think that the team did a great job that must be maintained for this match,” Llorente said in an interview with Diario AS.
When asked whether or not Real Madrid being tagged as favourites could aid Atleti, the midfielder said, “Honestly, it neither motivates me nor demotivates me. We simply have to do what we work on during the week, what the coach asks of us.”
Llorente stressed the importance of the game, adding, “It is a great rival we have in front of us, they are having a very good start to the season and that motivates me and everyone to try to play a good game.”
“Real Madrid is a great club, they have great players and it is very difficult to beat them. I think we have competed, we have also achieved several draws, but in the end, either you go out one hundred percent and do things very, very well or it is difficult to beat them,” he added.
A former member of the Real Madrid youth academy, Llorente joined Atletico Madrid in 2019. Since then, he has racked up over 150 competitive appearances for Los Colchoneros.
Llorente, though, said he feels no sense of vindication when he performs well against his former team.
“No. In the end, it’s been many years since I left there and I’m at Atlético. Perhaps in the first years, those types of feelings and sensations can arise, but today they no longer do,” he said.
Llorente on Vinicius, Koke & Bellingham
The Atletico Madrid star went on to talk about other aspects of the game, including the fact that his team had one less player every time they faced Real Madrid last season.
“I have zero worries. These are things that are not in our remit, that escape our hands. We play football, the referees referee and those who have to decide decide,” he said.
Llorente, in fact, said that the return of Koke could be a real boost for Atleti. “It is always good that Koke is with us, both on the field and in the day-to-day life of the game,” he said.
“Beyond the grass. The support he gives, the advice he gives us, his experience. it is always important to have him and it is great news that he is already training with us,” he added.
Talking about the absence of Vinicius Junior and the form of Jude Bellingham, Llorente said, “Well, you have to be careful with everyone. All Real Madrid players are very good and can make a difference at any moment of the game. Bellingham is having a great start and we have to take that into account and be very focused.”
Finally, Marcos Llorente put out a message for all the Atletico Madrid fans, claiming their support ahead of this crucial encounter this weekend.
“It will be a full house as always. We don’t have to tell them anything, they know the importance of this match for Atlético, we know that they never fail, they are always supporting us and we count on them,” he said.