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Atletico Madrid midfielder set for automatic renewal after two games

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Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Axel Witsel was one of the smart buys Atletico Madrid made during the summer transfer window. The experienced midfielder came from Borussia Dortmund on a free transfer, initially to boost the club’s depth in the middle of the park.

But as we approach the second half of the campaign, Witsel has turned out to be a vital player for Atletico Madrid, with the star having racked up over 2,000 minutes of football in all competitions – a tally bettered by only three players in the squad, including goalkeeper Jan Oblak (2,434).

According to MARCA, Witsel’s early success at Atletico Madrid could see his contract being automatically extended until 2024. This is because of a special clause in the contract that he signed with Atletico Madrid last summer.

While the ageing Belgian only signed a one-year deal with Atleti, his contract included an option to extend another year based on his performance. The clause stated that the midfielder must feature in 25 matches, in which he has played over 45 minutes of football in each of them.

WItsel’s current tally with Atletico Madrid this season stands at 27 appearances. But the former Dortmund ace has featured in over 45 minutes of action in only 23 of those matches.

This means the 34-year-old is only two games away from having his contract automatically extended. It is a move that is expected to benefit all parties involved.

Witsel, for his part, can continue to play at the highest level for at least another season and help Atleti progress under Diego Simeone. As for the club, they have been hugely impressed by the player’s professionalism and versatility, as the Belgian has featured in the centre-back role multiple times this season.

Witsel’s continuity, therefore, may continue to benefit coach Simeone as he looks ahead to a potential restructuring in the upcoming summer transfer window.

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Atletico Madrid News

Ancelotti talks Courtois, Militao, Bellingham, VAR controversies ahead of Las Palmas vs Real Madrid

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Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Coming off a highly controversial game against Almeria, Real Madrid will now travel to Gran Canaria to take on Las Palmas tomorrow as part of the early kick-off.

Carlo Ancelotti spoke about the clash tomorrow, starting off by confirming his goalkeeper for tomorrow, “Lunin will start tomorrow.”

He also added that Madrid were looking to get back to their usual level after back-to-back poor performances, one of which included elimination against Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey round of 16.

“We are motivated to return to our best level after 2 bad games.”

The Italian gaffer also commented on the biggest football story in the world today, which was Jurgen Klopp announcing his decision to leave Liverpool at the end of the season.

“It’s quite surprising, I understand. Working for a long time with the same club and players lowers your motivation a bit. He’s doing a fantastic job at Liverpool.”

And of course, Ancelotti also spoke about the leaked VAR audiovisual, some of which are highly controversial for all parties involved. Barcelona coach and players have also commented on the same, in light of the Negreira case.

“They have talked a lot. Everyone knows what has happened in the last 20 years in Spanish football. The Civil Guard is carrying out an investigations. That is the real problem of Spanish football.”

Luckily for the manager and fans, all injured players — minus the ACL trio of David Alaba, Eder Militao, and Thibaut Courtois — are available. Jude Bellingham is suspended, however.

“Everyone is available now after the recent period of injuries.”

“Making up for Bellingham’s absence tomorrow? Brahim and Joselu are available options. They were able to show themselves after I relied on them as substitutes,” he added.

And as far as Militao and Courtois are concerned, both of whom tore their ACL early in the season, Ancelotti suggested that they could make their return before the season ends.

“Courtois and Militão both have the option to play this season. The recovery process is going very well, they are training on an individual level. It is February and these types of injuries last 6-8 months, so I think they will recover before the end of the season.”

Source: Mundo Deportivo

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