Top Story: And then there were four
There are four teams left in the 2018 World Cup — and four Atlético Madrid players, too. France (Antoine Griezmann, Lucas Hernández and Thomas Lemar) will battle Belgium (with former colchoneros Toby Alderweireld and Yannick Carrasco) in the first semifinal on Tuesday while Wednesday will see England take on Šime Vrsaljko’s Croatia.
France eliminated Diego Godín, José Giménez and Uruguay with a 2-0 win on Friday. Lucas Hernández played another impressive 90, while Griezmann set up a goal and scored a goal. Twitter erupted when he didn’t celebrate the goal and when Giménez began crying in the 88th minute.
Filipe Luís did not play as Belgium stunned Brazil 2-1 to set up the very tasty first semifinal. Šime Vrsaljko played 97 minutes in Croatia’s dramatic penalty shootout win over hosts Russia on Saturday night.
Marca reported this week that Real Betis starting keeper Antonio Adán has completed a transfer to Atletico Madrid for €1 million plus variables. The 31-year-old has signed a two-year contract to be Jan Oblak’s backup. The ex-Real Madrid stopper had made it clear he wanted to leave Betis before preseason, and all that’s missing is the official announcement.
Pending a physical, Sporting Clube de Portugal winger Gelson Martins has agreed to join Atlético this summer on a five year contract worth €3m annually. This signing comes only a few weeks after the rojiblancos brought in Monaco’s Thomas Lemar.
Portuguese international Gelson asked out of his contract with Sporting following an attack by masked ultras that left his teammate Bas Dost with head injuries.
Even though the 23-year-old is available on a free transfer, Atlético will likely work out some compensation with Sporting in order to avoid any FIFA-related legislation. Atleti could offer a transfer fee plus player package to get the deal over the line.
- In another move, Diego Simeone checked off another item on his shopping list by bringing in 18 year-old Argentinian defender Nehuen Perez on a 6-year deal. Though he will return to Argentina on a season-long loan, this is a clear indication Simeone is not only looking for depth now, but in the future as well.
An Italian Stallion...from Croatia
As Kévin Gameiro appears headed for the exit, it’s been reported that Atlético have put in a €18-20 million bid for AC Milan striker Nikola Kalinić. Given Diego Costa’s fee (€50m) and given that it must be paid off this summer, Atleti are keen to look at less expensive options. Kalinić has a track record as a solid target man despite a bad 2017/18 season in Milan. More details here.
Quietly in the USA
Now that Antoine Griezmann has his contract, he’s focused on World Cup glory. Once that’s been achieved, he wants Champions League glory. Once that’s been achieved:
“Then I can go and quietly play in the USA. That’s my ideal itinerary. It’s not bad, is it?”
As an American living in America, I don’t think so!