Nico Gaitan confirms he wanted to swap Benfica for Atletico Madrid in 2015 and recalls winning with his old club at Vicente Calderon.
Gaitan has officially moved to Atletico after signing his new contract on Tuesday evening and at his presentation was asked about last season’s Champions League meeting between the sides, when he helped the Portuguese outfit to a surprise success at the Calderon.
“It was a Champions League night and it’s hard to win. We knew we were coming to a pitch where Atletico are very strong and it was difficult. They had bigger names but on the pitch it was 11 against 11 and that night showed that football can go either way,” he explained, AS reports, having scored one and made one in the 2-1 triumph.
“We were stronger and I really liked it here, I felt it was a ground that always supports the players. It was the same at Boca Juniors and Benfica, and I hope I have the fans on my side.
“Atletico following me for a few years was decisive. Sometimes I asked about them and was told good things. When a Coach is looking for you for a while, it’s important for the player. That insistence is what led to me coming here today. I had six beautiful years with Benfica, where I was comfortable, but I made the decision and I hope to do as well as possible here.
“I don’t know what I’ll contribute. I don’t like talking about my game. I leave it to others, everyone thinks differently. Atletico have great players and I hope to earn my place.
“I didn’t come before because there wasn’t an agreement between the clubs. I can make a decision but if they don’t agree it doesn’t happen. I wanted to come last year but the agreement failed and it wasn’t up to me.
“I know Atletico is demanding. In Portugal we used the ball more. I don’t know what I’ll find but I hope to adapt as quickly as possible. Am I ready for the challenge? If I say no…! Of course, I will give everything. I’m human and I might make mistakes, but I’ll try to make as few as possible.
“Real Madrid and Barcelona are great clubs but so is Atletico. They’ve played the Champions League Final and that’s what big clubs do. I’m very happy to be here and hopefully I can help. We want to fight for titles but it depends on results.”