Saul Niguez has reflected his time in Real Madrid’s youth system helped him to reach the level he is now at with Atletico Madrid.
Speaking ahead of the Madrid derby on Saturday, the Spain international admitted he did not enjoy his spell with Los Blancos but believes it was of long-term benefit.
“Reflecting back, my time at Madrid was positive for allowing me to grow and mature,” Saul told an interview with Movistar+.
“Now I realise that it was ultimately a good thing for me as it allowed me to reach the level I’m at now, even if it didn’t feel good at the time.
“I spent a year on loan at Rayo and was convinced I was returning to Atletico but then everything was agreed for me to join Valencia on another loan.
“But then our Coach – Diego Simeone – spoke to me and said he had analysed my performance and wanted me to form part of the first-team squad here.”