Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez has hit out at Theo Hernandez following his move to arch-rivals Real Madrid. “He knows what he’s doing…”
Theo had been part of Atleti since the age of 10 but nonetheless joined Madrid earlier in the week, and Saul made it clear he did not agree with the left-back’s decision to cross the capital divide.
“Renewal? It makes me very happy to know that the club of my life are counting on me,” the midfielder said in an event at the Vicente Calderon to publicise his nine-year contract extension.
“When Miguel Angel proposed the renewal, I told him that I’d sign on for the years that I wanted. I’m happy and the club are growing. I want to improve, grow and do both with Atletico Madrid.
“Everything I’ve been through in my career has helped me be where I am today. Thanks to all these people who helped me to mature and become who I am.
“Since I was a child, I’ve been accompanied by the same people. Those values that are instilled in Atleti have made me grow. Thanks to my parents because without them, I wouldn’t be here.
“Thanks to Moya, Koke, Gabi, andTorres because at critical moments or when I thought about other things, they conveyed calmness to me. I was told that it was best to stay calm and they kept me on my feet.
“I have to thank them a lot because without them, I wouldn’t be here either.
“My number? I’ve fought a lot to have No 8 on my back. I want to continue with the legend and history of Atletico. I’ll continue to work hard in giving all my confidence back to the club.
“I must also thank Cholo Simeone. Since he arrived, he’s made me a better person. And also Berta and Caminero, who have made me grow. I’m very ambitious.
“Next season is going to be exciting. We’ll continue to grow, all our players will continue and we’ve been able to keep our core and recover the players who were loaned out.
“I won’t have to renew one or two more times because my new contract expires when I’m 31-32 years, but staying at Atletico is my dream. The club are growing, I want to grow and it’s the best place to do so.
“That Koke and Torres renew, that Gabi stays, that Tiago also stays… that’s very important for us. But the most significant case is that of Griezmann.
“He’s been here for a few years, he already knows the meaning of Atletico Madrid and he’s made a big effort to stay.
“We know that he could make a lot more money elsewhere, but he showed heart.
“He knows we need him and he prefers to stay with us because he knows we value him.
“Trophies? The Champions League is what we all want, we’ve come two steps away but we’ll keep growing and sooner or later we’ll get there. We won’t stop insisting.
“Torres? Not only is he a mirror for me, but also for everyone in the sport.
“I’m lucky enough to share a dressing room with him and he’s a very special person for me.
“He’s someone who has won everything and who showed that he didn’t come here to pass the time away but rather to work hard, help the club and to radiate the [club’s] values so that outsiders know that the No 1 thing is Atletico.
“Theo? It’s Theo’s decision, he knows what he’s doing. Ultimately, he’s a player who has left our academy and must show respect to the club he departed.
“If he doesn’t have that respect for all of us then I don’t care that he’s gone. If he doesn’t want to be here then we’re not going to keep him.
“The people who want to be here, we’ll give them all our love and whoever who doesn’t want to be with us, we don’t care about them.
“Advice to youth players? I’ve never felt pressure, when I play football I enjoy it.
“The only thing I try is to improve day by day and I’m lucky to have the best Coach in the world.
“To the young lads, I’ll tell them they must enjoy the moment, that they must be entrenched by Atletico’s values because not only will it help them in their footballing lives, but also their personal lives.”