Nahuel Molina has been fundamental to Atlético Madrid’s post-World Cup form, which hit a high point Wednesday as the Rojiblancos leapfrogged Real Madrid and into second place in LaLiga.
Molina’s season has mirrored Atlético’s on the whole — a slow start turning into a nightmare, followed by a resurgence after the midseason World Cup. Diego Simeone has always kept the faith in his hand-picked Kieran Trippier replacement, and now he’s being rewarded. Molina has scored 3 goals and assisted another over his past six games — during which he’s played all but five minutes.
The World Cup winner’s adaptation to Atlético looks nearly complete, and now the club wants to protect its investment with a new long-term contract.
Relevo’s Matteo Moretto on Wednesday reported Atlético have declared Molina “non-transferable” and are poised to “do everything possible so that there is not the slightest doubt about his future” in red and white:
Atlético will soon talk with Molina about his contract. It’s not a priority at the moment, because higher on the agenda are other meetings to talk about those players who are approaching the end of their deals and Molina — who has just signed — certainly does not need to renew. But in the club, they are so happy with his performances that they want him to be totally happy where he is. In the coming weeks, they will also talk about how they can improve his contract — perhaps not strictly in terms of the duration, given that the contract expires in 2027.
Keeping Molina happy does strike me as a priority, given he is the only right-back in the squad that Simeone rates (sorry, Matt Doherty, but you have played only 17 minutes since your deadline day arrival). Molina has played more league minutes (2,417) than any other outfield player, which means he’s been able to accrue some impressive stats — such as a team-leading 222 progressive passes received, 1.6 passes into the penalty area per 90 minutes (3rd), and 84 shot-creating actions (2nd).
All this, and Molina’s just turned 25. He is on a star trajectory, and though Atlético still need to reinforce his position, right-back looks to be Molina’s for the foreseeable future as long as he’s happy to be in Madrid.
“For a coach to ask about you and notice you is a nice thing,” Molina told MARCA last month. “The possibility of joining Atlético de Madrid was also very important for me and for my career. It was very nice.”