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Atletico Madrid president talks Griezmann, Morata, De Paul, lack of centre-back signings

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Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo spoke to the media earlier today ahead of the team’s UEFA Champions League encounter against Club Brugge at the Jan Breydel Stadium in Belgium.

The Rojiblancos supremo insisted that it is extremely important that the club win the game tonight, having lost their last Champions League encounter against Bayer Leverkusen prior to the international break.

As quoted by AS, he said: “Unquestionably we have to win, because if we don’t we will be annoyed to go through to the Round of 16. We have hope, the team are happy, and they are fine. They already showed in Seville that they play well, that they want to win.”

Diego Simeone switched the formation of the team to a 4-4-2 in the last game against Sevilla which Atletico won. When quizzed if that setup suited them better, Cerezo replied:

“The team played well and were able to score more goals, they played a great game and that’s what matters and what people like.”

There has been a lot of criticism directed towards Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodrigo De Paul after he missed the Sevilla game due to personal reasons and was spotted in Miami afterwards. He is back now and has been included in the squad for the Club Brugge encounter.

When asked for his thoughts on the matter, Cerezo said: “I say it very clearly, it is an issue between De Paul and us. That’s all.”

On being asked if the Argentine midfielder had received permission from Atletico Madrid for his absence, Cerezo reiterated his earlier reply, saying:

“It is an issue between him and us. What happens outside of here is of no interest to anyone except the club and him. The rest is clear. Let everyone think what they want…”

The Colchoneros president also talked about Alvaro Morata and his turnaround of fortunes as the Spaniard could have left the club in the summer but is now proving to be a key performer.

“In Morata he has always believed and that is why he is with us. What happens is that in the circumstances of the world of football, these things happen many times. You (media) also change jobs,” Cerezo exclaimed.

The Atletico Madrid president also talked about Antoine Griezmann’s current game-time situation, with Simeone only using him after the 60th minute to avoid paying Barcelona the full €40 million permanent purchase clause.

While there have been reports of negotiations going on between the two clubs, Cerezo said that there had been no change with regard to the Frenchman’s playing time.

“Regarding Griezmann, life goes on the same. Let’s hope he plays after 60′. In the world of football, negotiations are always taking place,” he said.

There have been a lot of questions regarding Atletico Madrid’s recruitment this summer, with fans especially displeased with the lack of investment in the centre-back department. When put that question forward by a journalist, Cerezo said:

“If they don’t understand it, how can I understand it? We have a complete team, maybe what you say is true, but our technicians still think it’s not.”

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Atletico Madrid News

Atletico Madrid will try to sign Arsenal, Liverpool target for free in the summer

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Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Atletico Madrid saw a lot of movement during the January transfer window as they saw several players leave, while also bringing in a couple of new faces in.

But one player who they tried to sign and could not is Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram.

Indeed, according to AS, was on the top of director Andrea Berta’s list for the winter window as he is in the final six months of his contract. But, Gladbach asked for a fee of around €10-12 million to offload him, which prompted Atletico Madrid to move for Depay instead.

But the report states that Thuram continues to be on the agenda at the Civitas Metropolitano and Berta will try to sign him again in the summer transfer window.

However, there will be intense competition for the 25-year-old’s services given that he will be available for a free transfer at the end of the season.

Juventus and Inter Milan have shown an interest in Thuram, but there are a lot of clubs in England wishing to sign him up.

Indeed, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur are all said to be gunning for the French forward’s signing while more clubs could join the list of his suitors as days progress.

So, it will be important for Atletico Madrid to achieve a top-four finish in La Liga and qualify for the UEFA Champions League for next season if they wish to attract a player of Thuram’s capability and calibre.

The 25-year-old has netted 13 goals and set up four more in 19 matches across all competitions. His ability to play anywhere across the frontline makes him an attractive prospect for interested parties such as Atletico.

But given the intense competition, Diego Simeone & co. will need to act swiftly if they wish to sign Thuram.

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