Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has confirmed that the team is working on finding a new left-back now that Renan Lodi is close to securing a move to the Premier League side Nottingham Forest.
The manager first explained why Lodi decided to move in the first place.
“Renan [Lodi] had the need to play in the World Cup,” said the manager (h/t Mundo Deportivo).
“Some like to compete and others go out looking for those minutes that bring them closer to being able to go to the World Cup in the best way.”
Adding to the context, Simeone said the team will compensate for Lodi’s departure in the summer itself.
“The club is working on some arrival to compensate for Lodi’s departure, we hope to see what happens in these four fun days that we will have until the closure of the market,” he added.
Tottenham Hotspur left-back Sergio Reguilon is said to be on his way to Metropolitano Stadium, but given his Real Madrid background, questions were raised about whether the Atleti fans will accept him or not. To that the manager said,
“Juanfran went through Real Madrid, Filipe [Luis] too and they are the history of the club,” he explained.
“Alvaro is doing well, Hermoso has given a lot, and Llorente destroyed it in the league champion season. I see them as football players.”
Simeone was also asked about how the team is managing the whole Antoine Griezmann situation. The Frenchman is currently on loan from Barcelona and Atletico have an obligatory buy clause worth €40 million in his contract.
For the contract to be fulfilled, Griezmann needs to clock a certain amount of minutes and speaking about the situation, the manager explained,
“In my mind, the quality of minutes matters more than quantity, I am absolutely not upset by what they think. Having Griezmann available is very satisfying for me.”
Atletico are set to take on Valencia, who have appointed Gennaro Gattuso as their new manager, away from home on Monday. When asked about his next opponent, the Argentine had nothing but kind words for the team and their manager.
“I see a team reflected in its coach, with a very fast pace of play, good intensity and man-to-man pressure in many passages of the match that raises the speed of the game, with quality footballers, people offensively who can do damage.
“New players have arrived. with great enthusiasm, we see a team with energy,” he concluded.
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.