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Spanish midfielder set for Atletico Madrid return amid Chelsea crisis



Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Chelsea are set for a dark future ahead, following UK Government’s decision to sanction Roman Abramovich.

The sanction has effectively barred Chelsea from conducting business in the market or selling new matchday tickets. It has also restricted the spending on logistics, among other things, bringing about an immediate crisis as we head towards the final phase of the campaign.

With a transfer embargo looming large, Chelsea could brace themselves for a difficult summer ahead. The Blues are now incapable of agreeing to new contracts or even signing newer deals, which could see many players and even staff members being laid off.

According to Spanish journalist Javi Gomara (h/t Atleti Francia), one such player could be Saul Niguez.

The Atletico Madrid playmaker joined the Blues last summer in a season-long loan deal. He was brought in to offer depth in the creative unit that was already brimming with talent.

According to Gomara, Chelsea have an option to make the move permanent if they activate the €40 million buyout clause. However, with Abramovich and Chelsea, in extension, facing sanctions from the Government, the Blues are not in a position to do so.

It could complicate things for both parties, knowing that Saul will now likely return to Wanda Metropolitano in the summer. Los Colchoneros had initially offloaded the player on loan last summer, hoping he would fetch a lucrative deal come the end of the season.

However, the Spaniard has struggled in the Premier League, failing to live up to his expectations. With just 341 minutes of league action, Saul has fallen behind in the pecking order at Stamford Bridge, thus compounding the problem for Diego Simeone.

Given Saul’s rapid fall from grace over the past few years, it won’t be surprising at all to see Atletico Madrid looking for new buyers for the midfielder in the summer. The player’s current contract at Wanda Metropolitano doesn’t expire until 2026, which could be useful in helping the club fetch a solid price for the playmaker.

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Atletico Madrid News

Atletico Madrid midfielder on the derby against Real Madrid: “Very difficult to beat them”



Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images

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.

Marcos Llorente confident of Atletico Madrid’s chances ahead of the derby (Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images)

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.

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