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Atletico pull out of Galatasaray friendly, will face Crotone instead

Atleti will head to Italy rather than Turkey, and here’s why.

Club Atletico de Madrid v Galatasaray AS - UEFA Champions League Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Atletico Madrid’s preseason is nearly finished. The team’s Australian tour is over - a hard-fought win over fellow Champions League side Tottenham Hostpur followed by a surprising defeat to Melbourne Victory - and the 2016/17 La Liga season kicks off in less than three weeks.

Atletico’s preseason travels - there is still the Trofeo Carranza to play - were slated to end this Saturday, Aug. 6 in Istanbul with a Champions League group stage rematch against Galatasaray. (Can you believe Jackson Martinez AND Luciano Vietto started that game?) However, due to the recent political upheaval in Turkey, Atleti have elected to back out of the friendly. Galatasaray cited security concerns; Atleti focused on framing the situation as a postponement, and the game will be played at a later date.

Instead, Atletico will return to Italy - the site of May’s Champions League heartbreak - to take on newly-promoted Crotone. The Calabrian side secured automatic promotion to Serie A courtesy of a second-place finish in Serie B last season and play at Stadio Ezio Scida, which seats less than 10,000 spectators.

This is probably a better result for all involved; Atletico stay closer to Spain, Crotone get to host a huge club and Galatasaray are secure in the knowledge that the original fixture will be made up at some point.