Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone believes defender Lucas Hernandez was the club’s most significant summer play departure.
The France international joined Bayern Munich this summer in an €80m deal having coming up through the youth system at Los Rojiblancos.
However, Simeone’s admission that he was the most important player to leave the club may have raised a few eyebrows, due to Antoine Griezmann also leaving the club this summer to join Barcelona for €120m.
There were a number of other significant player departures, including holding midfielder Rodri joining Manchester City for €70m and influential central defender Diego Godin left for Italian club Inter.
“The player exit this summer that was the most damaging for us was that of Lucas Hernandez,” Simeone told an interview with Cadena Ser.
“Because he was a kid of ours, from the youth system, he was one of us – just like Saul, Koke, Thomas…Lucas came along at the same time as Thomas, those players are important.
“Many of those exits were very important for the team. Godín was very important for the team because of his personality, for his handling of the dressing room, but I think Griezmann was harder to replace.
“Griezmann was almost a Ballon d'Or and Joao Félix is a 19-year-old boy. I think that for his growth it is better that he plays with footballers ahead of him and that he can play watching them.
“Hopefully in the future in two or three years he can be at the level of Griezmann, a level that Antoine reached at 26. 26-years-old!
“He is a €120m player who is not Hazard, who is 30 years old…Joao is 19 years old and has to be done, It's not the same huh, it's not the same!
“Morata's words (of double standards for Atleti)? I never liked victimhood, ever. I prefer to remain consistent. The VAR is very good because it enables us to see things that we didn't see before.
“For me, give me VAR always, before there were no penalties. When it is better to allow it to settle, we all benefit.
“A Coach I admire? Jürgen Klopp. No doubt. He had to lose things and also win beautiful things, but always with the same style. I see him close to the players.”