Diego Simeone ‘proud’ of Atletico Madrid’s departing stars

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone was “proud” of all four of his departing stars following Saturday’s 2-2 final day draw at Levante.

Next season will mark the start of a new era at Atletico with a number of key men to depart in the summer transfer window.

Star striker Antoine Griezmann will be one of them after announcing on the club’s social media channels his intention to end a five-year stay at the Wanda Metropolitano. He’s expected to join La Liga rivals Barcelona.

Atletico captain Diego Godin will also leave once his contract expires following a breakdown in talks over an extension. The Uruguayan centre-back is being tipped to join Inter Milan in the Serie A next term.

And now Simeone has effectively confirmed that full-backs Filipe Luis and Juanfran will be joining Griezmann and Godin out of the Spanish capital.

The quartet all played the full 90 minutes on Saturday as Atletico ended their season with a 2-2 draw at Levante in La Liga.

“I am proud of the players who are leaving the club, as they have given us so much,” said Simeone, according to Yahoo.

“The biggest thing that Filipe, Juanfran, Griezmann and Godin leave us is not trophies, but respect. In a sporting sense, I love them so much.”

10-man visitors have a lucky escape

Erick Cabaco and Roger Marti’s first-half goals put Levante into a commanding lead over Atletico at the Ciutat de Valencia.

Simeone’s side suffered another blow after the break when Angel Correa was given a red card following a VAR review for kicking Chema Rodriguez. Initially, the Argentine had been cautioned with a yellow before a review changed the referee’s mind.

But Rodrigo and substitute Camello scored late on to give the 10-man visitors a point in their final game.

“In the first half, Levante perhaps were a bit more focused and took advantage of their set pieces and breaks,” said Simeone.

“In the second half, despite Correa’s red card, the team answered as warriors, gladiators, people with pride.

“There are young and motivated players coming through and that excites us greatly.”

MADRID, SPAIN – MAY 12: A general view of Wanda Metropolitano stadium during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Sevilla FC at Wanda Metropolitano on May 12, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

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