Atletico Madrid pay tribute to former captain Gabi

MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 22: Fromer Atletico de Madrid player Gabi Fernandez waves a flag as he attends a tribute in his honor after the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and RCD Espanyol at Wanda Metropolitano on December 22, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Atletico Madrid paid tribute to Gabi Fernandez in Saturday’s La Liga match against Espanyol

The 35-year-old midfielder left Atleti at the end of last season for Qatari club Al Sadd SC after two spells across 10 seasons.

Gabi made 413 appearances in that time for Atleti and was a key member of Diego Simeone’s squad.

The Spaniard also won La Liga, Copa del Rey and two Europa League titles with Atleti and returned to the Wanda Metropolitano to be honoured for his services to the club.

“Atleti is my life: the way I live, the way I work,” said Gabi on Twitter.

“We haven’t always won, but we’ve always given life lessons and that’s why I’m proud to be a part of this great club.”

Former team-mate Fernando Torres, who now plays in Japan for Sagan Tosu, added: “You are the eternal captain. The captain of all captains.

“All of us would choose you to captain our team. Enjoy this new phase… But come back soon.”

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Diego Godin, who replaced Gabi as the club’s new captain for this season also paid tribute.

“You have been an example for all of us on and off the pitch. Thank you captain, thank you friend,” said the defender.

A 56th-minute penalty from Antoine Griezmaan ensured Atletico would end 2018 with a 1-0 win against Espanyol.

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