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Lucas Torreira wants transfer following mother’s death

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The midfielder, on loan from Arsenal, doesn’t want to play in Europe any longer.

Atletico de Madrid v Cadiz CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Lucas Torreira not only wants to leave Atlético Madrid at season’s end — the midfielder would like to leave European football entirely and secure a move to Argentinian giants Boca Juniors.

Torreira, playing out the final month-plus of a loan deal from Arsenal, was hit hard by his mother’s death earlier this week. Viviana De Pascua died Tuesday following a COVID-19 outbreak in Fray Bentos, Torreira’s birthplace in Uruguay. She was 53 years old, and the two were very close.

“I asked Atlético for some time off,” Torreira said in an interview with ESPN Argentina. “Cholo Simeone understood everything and they gave me a week, but I asked to stay for a little longer. On Sunday I will probably return (when Atlético play Sevilla).

“I have to do my duty and life must continue. Atlético have been very good to me and (the title race) is important.”

Atletico de Madrid v Deportivo Alavés - La Liga Santander Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Torreira insisted that his mind is made up and that playing for Boca would amount to a dream come true. The 25-year-old is a fan of the club, and he went on to say that he hasn’t been enjoying his football over the past two years. He’s suffered from a lack of continuity — first falling out of favor with Mikel Arteta at Arsenal before going on to make only three league starts for Atlético.

“I just want to play for Boca,” Torreira said. “I have made my decision. I will do it for my father. He asked me, and I’m going to do it.”

After an encouraging start to life in Spain — including a golazo that capped a 3-1 win over Osasuna in October — Torreira contracted COVID-19 in November. He has struggled for consistent minutes in a competitive midfield ever since and last played 90 minutes in January, when Cornellà eliminated Atlético from the Copa del Rey.

It was rather unlikely Atleti would make an effort to buy Torreira this summer anyway — given the heartbroken player’s desire to head back to South America, now it won’t be possible.