Diego Simeone insists Atletico Madrid ‘did their best’ to retain defender Lucas Hernandez but could not prevent his move to Bayern Munich.
Bayern confirmed in a press release on Wednesday afternoon that they would pay €80m for Lucas and tie him down to a five-year contract, starting on July 1.
The club have since clarified that the France international will continue his recovery from a knee injury in Bavaria and will not play for Atleti again.
“First of all, I would like to thank Lucas Hernandez for all his work over the years, which have not been as many as we would wish but have been very intense,” Simeone told reporters.
“He gave us a lot both as a footballer with his abilities but also his values and the work ethic he brought to the dressing room, we love him very much.
“As a club we all did our best to keep him but he has taken the decision to change his team, so we wish him all the best for the future.”
The 23-year-old only signed a new contract with Los Colchoneros last June but has been swayed by the project on offer in Bavaria.
Hernandez has gone on to make 110 appearances for Atleti since his debut in December 2015, winning a Europa League and European Super Cup.
Equally adept at left-back and centre-back, he was also part of the France team who won the World Cup in Russia.
Lucas is the second French World Cup-winning defender to be joining the German giants this summer after Stuttgart’s Benjamin Pavard.