Saul Niguez left Atletico Madrid last summer with the aim of proving his worth and securing minutes in his favoured central midfield position. His loan move to Chelsea seemed ad hoc at the time and so it has proved to be.
Earlier on Tuesday it was confirmed not only that he would be leaving Chelsea this summer but that he would be staying at Atletico Madrid in order to fight for a place back at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Later that evening he wrote a lengthy goodbye to his followers on Instagram, thanking the fans, the club, the staff and the players. He termed his time at the club as a lesson in order to learn and improve, but what really came through from his post is the difficult period Saul appears to have experienced.
In it he admitted that it wasn’t easy moving countries for the first time but also thanked his teammates for helping him to not ‘fall apart’.
The statement is a keen reminder that the life behind the footballer and the mental state in which they find themselves has far more influence than observers are ever likely to know. Saul’s spell at Chelsea was not a success, but it perhaps suggests the biggest problem was not his technical ability but his state of mind.
The full statement:
“I’m writing to take my leave of you. I would like to tell you how I felt during this adventure. Things didn’t start well at all. After a long time at home, changing everything wasn’t easy. Little by little things got better.
Everything in life serves to improve and learn, and that’s what I take from this adventure.
I’d like to thank the club for trying to take care of every detail to make me feel at home. I’d also like to give recognition to each worker, thank you. Thank you for making this club much bigger.
Thanks to all the fans for supporting me through thick and thin. I will be forever grateful. Thanks to all the staff for making it possible for me to win titles with the blue shirt.
But above all, I wanted to thank my teammates. They have been fundamental so that I wouldn’t fall apart. They helped me to continue supporting the team and live a calm and positive day to day. Thank you!”