Kieran Trippier has revealed the “absolute privilege” of working under Diego Simeone played a huge part in his decision to join Atletico Madrid.
The England defender was officially presented by Atletico on Thursday afternoon after leaving Tottenham to sign for the Spanish giants on a three-year deal for a reported £20million.
The 28-year-old says moving to Spain fulfils a long-held ambition of his and he pledged to give his all for the club and new boss Simeone, who he holds in the highest regard.
Asked how much his decision to join Atletico was influenced by the chance to play for the most successful coach in Rojiblancos history, Trippier said: “He was massive.
“From watching Atletico over the years you see what he demands of his team, the work ethic. They give everything for the team, the badge. It’s like a big family here and I wanted to be a part of this.
“For me, he’s one of the best managers in the world and it’s an absolute privilege to play for him and give everything I can for him. ”
He added: “Obviously the Premier League is one of the best leagues in the world, but when Atletico Madrid were interested I didn’t think twice.
“It was a great opportunity for myself, my family, to come and live in Madrid and experience it.
“Me and Mauricio (Tottenham boss Pochettino) had a conversation about my future. I explained there was a big opportunity at Atletico Madrid and it was an opportunity that I didn’t want to turn down.”
Trippier joins a relatively small group of English players to try their luck in Spain and is determined to make the most of the experience.
Trophies are obviously high on his agenda, but the former Burnley full-back insists his first port of call is to learn the language as soon as possible.
Trippier, who will wear the number 23 shirt at Atletico, the same number compatriot David Beckham wore at Real Madrid, said: “(It’s a source of) pride and a great challenge for me to come here.
“The most important thing is to get involved in the culture of the players and learn the language.
“My main priority is to learn the language straight away, to make it easier for my family and just enjoy playing for Atletico and living in Madrid.
“I’ve always wanted to speak Spanish anyway and this gives me a better opportunity to do that.”
Bury-born Trippier was on Manchester City’s books as a youngster before moving to Burnley in 2011 and then Tottenham in 2015.
His last competitive game for Spurs came in June’s Champions League final defeat to Liverpool at the Wanda Metropolitano – a venue he will now be calling home.
Trippier added of his decision to leave England: “I’ve always wanted to play abroad, especially LaLiga, since I was young and I’ve got a great opportunity now and it’s one that I’m going to really enjoy and give my all.
“I’m delighted to be here and I’m looking forward to exciting times ahead and trying to help the team achieve great things.”
Atletico Madrid look set to pursue Barcelona for an additional €80 million after claiming the €120m received for Antoine Griezmann is “insufficient” to cover the player’s buyout clause.
LaLiga champions Barca have announced the signing of France forward Griezmann on a five-year contract until June 2024.
However, Atletico have “initiated procedures” with a view to receiving a higher fee because they believe the transfer was agreed before the 28-year-old’s buyout clause was reduced from €200m on July 1.
World Cup winner Griezmann announced on May 14 he would be leaving Atletico after spending five seasons in the Spanish capital.
“Atletico Madrid consider that the deposited amount is insufficient to cover his buyout clause since it is obvious the agreement between the player and Barcelona was closed before the clause was reduced from €200m to €120m,” read a statement on Atletico’s website.
“It was also prior to the date on which the clause was modified that the player on May 14 announced his disassociation from the club.
“Atletico Madrid believe the termination of the contract happened before the end of last season due to facts, deeds and actions by the player, and therefore have already initiated the procedures deemed appropriate to protect our rights and lawful interests.”
Earlier this month, Atletico claimed Barcelona and Griezmann had reached a transfer agreement in March and accused them of disrespect.
The fee paid by Barca makes Griezmann the third most expensive player in history, after Paris St Germain pair Neymar (£200.6m) and Kylian Mbappe (£128m).
His Barcelona contract, which will be officially signed on Sunday ahead of his unveiling, contains a buyout clause of €800m.
Griezmann was reported to have turned down a transfer to the Nou Camp last summer because he did not like the thought of being “Lionel Messi’s lieutenant”.
He appeared to reference that failed move in a video posted on Barcelona’s website, while also vowing to “defend the colours” of the Catalan club.
“When I was a boy, my dad taught me that trains don’t come around just once,” said Griezmann.
“Now it’s time to take on the challenge of a new destination. Finally, our paths cross.
“I’ll defend the Barca colours with all my determination and commitment. It’s our time. This is our path.”
Barcelona said the move can help cement Griezmann’s place among the world’s elite performers.
“With his arrival at Barcelona, the Frenchman takes another step forward in his career with the goal of consolidating his place as one of the best players in the world,” read a statement on the club website.
Griezmann, who has won 72 caps for his country, moved to Atletico from Real Sociedad in 2014 and helped the club win the Europa League in 2018, scoring twice in the final against Marseille.
He joined Real Sociedad at the age of 14, making his senior debut four years later.
As well as his World Cup success in Russia last summer, he is also a Champions League and European Championship runner-up after Atletico and France fell at the final hurdle in those respective competitions in 2016.
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The deal is more than the 19-year-old Portuguese forward’s €120m release clause and Atletico will pay the fee in instalments.
Felix, who was linked with Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Real Madrid, scored 15 goals in 26 appearances in his first season of senior football last term.
He also became the youngest player to score a hat-trick in the Europa League when he hit a treble against Eintracht Frankfurt.
He made his international debut for Portugal in the Nations League semi-finals last month.
A statement on Atletico’s official website said: “Our club and Benfica have reached an agreement over the transfer of the young Portuguese footballer.
“The forward has already passed his medical at the Clinica Universidad de Navarra and signed his new contract for the next seven seasons.”
Only Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele have moved on for more.