Atletico Madrid have announced the surprise capture of Marcos Llorente from city rivals Real Madrid.
Despite coming through the youth ranks at Real, Llorente could never break into the club’s star-studded midfield comprising of 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro.
However, the 24-year-old appeared to finally make his mark last season following a breakthrough performance against AS Roma in the Champions League in November. He then struck a fine 25-yard half-volley to help Los Blancos win the Club World Cup final two months later.
This convinced Real to call off Llorente’s January loan switch to Deportivo Alaves before he suffered an untimely adductor injury. It saw him miss nearly five months of action with manager Zinedine Zidane suggesting he could go out on loan next term.
“Marcos needs more first-team minutes,” said Zidane in April.
“He was incredible during the season where he played (on loan) at Alaves (in 2016/17) and a similar situation would be the best-case scenario for him again.”
It turns out, though, the former Spain U-21 international will instead join city rivals Atletico on a five-year pending the result of his medical.
Llorente will emulate his father, Paco, and Grandfather, Ramon Grasso, by representing both Atletico and Real in Spain.
“We welcome a great footballer to whom we wish the best of luck in this beautiful new challenge defending the Atletico Madrid shirt.,” read an Atletico statement.
Llorente made 39 appearances for Real in all competitions and scored twice. Despite his limited role, the young Spaniard still leaves as a Champions League winner with five other trophies to his name as well.
The Spanish press have claimed that Real and Atletico agreed on a €40m transfer fee for Llorente’s sale.
This new development in Madrid could now pave the way for fellow midfielder Rodri to leave Atletico. The 22-year-old has a buy-out clause of €70m and has captured the interest of Premier League champions Manchester City.
BREAKING: Atletico Madrid confirm the signing of Marcos Llorente from Real Madrid on a five-year deal. pic.twitter.com/E65A6xBy83
— B/R Football (@brfootball) June 20, 2019