Atlético Madrid on Monday announced promising midfielder Rodrigo "Roro" Riquelme Reche's loan to newly-promoted Girona — in addition to a contract extension that will link the homegrown playmaker to Los Colchoneros until 2028.
Marca reports Roro's new contract will have a €60 million release clause, and the Catalan club will cover the player's salary while he’s playing at Montilivi.
Riquelme renews his contract until 2028 and will play next season on loan at Girona. Good luck, Rodrigo!— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) August 1, 2022
Riquelme starred at second-tier Mirandés a season ago, scoring seven goals and registering 12 assists across 36 games. Top figures at Atlético, including Diego Simeone and sporting director Andrea Berta, are convinced the 22-year-old will be ready to take hold of a first-team place upon his return from this latest loan spell.
Girona won the race for Riquelme amid interest from several Primera clubs, including Elche, Valencia, Rayo Vallecano, and fellow newly-promoted side Valladolid. Rayo's consolation prize might be Roro's teammate Sergio Camello, with local reports indicating the 21-year-old forward will play at Vallecas on loan instead.
Roro joined Atlético's academy as a 10-year-old and steadily rose up the ranks before making his debut under Simeone in a 3-2 win over Eibar in September 2019. His breakthrough campaign at Mirandés last season came after a disappointing campaign with AFC Bournemouth in the Sky Bet Championship, and there was some talk that Cholo even contemplated handing the versatile midfielder a spot in the 2022/23 squad.
Ultimately, though, the club decided a third loan spell would benefit the player the most.
Girona are back in LaLiga after a three-year absence. Thanks to operating under the City Football Group umbrella, the club has been able to acquire New York City FC forward Taty Castellanos — the second-ranked scorer in Major League Soccer — on a loan deal this summer. Forward Cristhian Stuani also remained with the team throughout its three-year stay in Segunda, and he was critical to helping Girona return to the top flight via the promotional playoffs earlier this summer.