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Filipe Luís bids Atlético a fond farewell

Over 330 appearances later, the Brazilian is on his way out of the club.

Levante UD v Club Atletico de Madrid - La Liga Photo by David Aliaga/MB Media/Getty Images

Filipe Luís became the fourth defender to leave Atlético Madrid this summer, as he announced his exit in a press conference at the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday.

“I have lived great moments here,” the Brazilian said. “For me today is not a sad day, but a happy day, because I have given everything for this club.”

Filipe’s contract expired on June 30 — and considering Atlético’s team-wide rebuild, it was always unlikely that he would come back for another year. The 33-year-old insisted he wanted to stay and fight for his place, but there was no room for him once Atleti completed their defensive reshuffle.

“I leave this shirt to a young Brazilian who will play well,” Filipe said, thus giving his endorsement to 21-year-old Renán Lodi as his replacement.

The ex-Deportivo and Chelsea left back won the Copa América this summer — and while he did not confirm his next destination, he appears set to return home to link up with Flamengo on a two-year contract.

In all, Filipe made 333 appearances for Atlético across two stints, and he became one of the world’s best, most complete left backs upon Diego Simeone’s arrival as manager. He scored 12 goals, won seven trophies and helped the club reach two Champions League finals. But a fibula fracture in March 2018 saw Fili cede his place to Lucas Hernández — though he would win back the starting spot a year later, he was nowhere near the same player and generated some controversy the previous summer by flirting publicly with Paris Saint-Germain.

Despite the not-so-storybook ending, Filipe Luís was as a stalwart of los Rojiblancos’ Golden Generation. He regretted leaving Atlético in the first place, and Simeone gave him his complete confidence when he came back to Spain. He may have aged out last season, but Filipe was one of Atleti’s most important players for several years and will be remembered as a top-class full back.