After almost a decade in red and white and nearly 400 games, Diego Godín will leave Atlético Madrid at the end of the season, he announced while teary-eyed in front of first team players and staff along with members of the media at the Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday.
The news has been a long time coming but nothing had been confirmed until Tuesday afternoon when Godín said “there were chats but no agreement” over a new deal. The 33-year-old did not specify where he would go but Inter Milan is said to be his next destination.
“I decided to stay, I don’t regret it,” he said when asked about not leaving last summer when an offer from Manchester United came in. “To the contrary, I wouldn’t have lived the lovely moment that I have lived this year. First comes the club, this team, my teammates...I tried to continue but we couldn’t reach an agreement. I’m here to say goodbye and to say thanks, nothing more. Just that.”
Diego Godín is a LaLiga legend. A master of headed goals - including the one he scored on the last day of the 13/14 season at the Camp Nou to win the title. He kissed the Atléti badge that day & has been one of the most loyal and dependable servants a club could have hoped for.— Kay Murray (@KayLMurray) May 7, 2019
Godín joined Atlético from Villarreal for €8 million and became part of the furniture. Along with Diego Simeone, they have gone on to define an era at the club which saw them lift the Europa League twice and an unlikely LaLiga title thanks to a goal from the Uruguayan defender against Barcelona on the last day of the season. He would score 27 goals in the jersey during his career as he became one of the most iconic defenders Spanish football had to offer.
Just shows how loved Godín was. Goes down as one of the best defenders LaLiga has seen and an Atlético Madrid legend. pic.twitter.com/LI7Od7nY9r— Robbie Dunne (@robbiejdunne) May 7, 2019
“Atlético are a massive club with thousands and thousands of fans, in the street, in training, in the stadium....I have felt their love. From when I was a kid, I dreamed of playing football but there is nothing more beautiful than walking into the stadium with the people chanting your name,” he said during his emotional farewell. “There is nothing more beautiful that this and that’s what I felt at this club. This is not so easy when the fans love you and respect you and it’s marvellous.”
Enrique Cerezo told the defender “on the field you are a champion and off it you are a super champion” as he bids farewell to possibly the best defender the club has ever seen.
Godín played 387 games for Atlético (and will remain for the next two games of the season) and has scored 27 goals with 14 assists in that time).