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The Weekly Rojiblanco: Devastation in Moscow

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Plus, the latest on renewals and bidding wars.

Spain v Russia: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Top Story: Spain eliminated from World Cup

Koke, Saúl and Diego Costa will start their vacations a bit sooner than expected.

Spain were knocked out of the World Cup by hosts Russia on Sunday afternoon. Despite managing 79 percent possession and setting the competition’s completed passes record, Spain were held to a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes and lost 4-3 on penalties. Koke saw his attempt in the shootout saved by Igor Akinfeev, while Costa was substituted on 75 minutes and Saúl did not play.

It’s going to be a long few weeks for those guys — especially Koke — and an even longer wait for Euro 2020.

Oh Captain, My Captain

Gabi appears to be leaving for Qatar. Al-Sadd are said to have agreed to terms with Atlético Madrid’s captain on a deal worth €6 million per year. The 34 year-old is set to leave his boyhood club after being offered a two-year deal to stay.

  • This move could restructure Diego Simeone’s midfield further. Vitolo may garner more time after struggling to settle earlier this year, and there’s also the small matter of how new arrival Thomas Lemar will fit in Simeone’s 4-4-2 (or other formation).

Defense wins championships

We touched last week on Šime Vrsaljko’s appeal across Europe. It appears the giants are now taking a look given his performances for Croatia in the World Cup. Inter Milan, Manchester United and AS Roma are apparently interested in the full back.

  • Manchester United are thought to be immediate front runners after they missed out on Portuguese right back Joao Cancelo, who recently signed with Juventus.
  • If Vrsaljko leaves — which looks increasingly certain — for Roma, it’s possible Alessandro Florenzi replaces him in a cash-plus-swap deal.

Stefan Savić has drawn interest from Juve and Chelsea as well. Atlético have held firm on their valuation of the pair and aren’t willing to budge off it just yet with other priorities — goalkeeper, backup striker — taking precedent.

Juve aren’t done looking at Madrid center backs, either: they’re said to be willing to meet Diego Godin’s €20 million release clause. The Uruguayan most likely will sign a new contract, however, and stay in the capital.

The next “Decision”

Saúl seems to think it’s a no-brainer.

“[Antoine Griezmann] had a €100 million release clause and now he’s signed a new deal that’s €200 million. It’s something the club have done well. Now we just need to renew Oblak.”

Agreed, tbh.

Speaking of goalkeeping

Atlético want a veteran stopper behind Oblak next season as Axel Werner will be loaned out. Reports from Sevilla claim Real Betis’ Antonio Adán is a target to fill that void. The 31-year-old’s contract expires next summer and Betis would part with him for around €3 million. He’s an ex-Real Madrid canterano and helped guide Betis to a sixth-place finish last season.

AND STAY OUT

Season ticket holders found out this week that they can keep their seat from the Calderón. The only caveat is they need to buy it and take it with them.

That’s right, season ticket holders can pick up their seat from the former stadium for €49.95. Those who were not season ticket holders can still own a seat, but can only buy one from official team stores at the Wanda Metropolitano, Gran Via and Tres Aguas for €79.95.