Football News

Koke backs Atletico Madrid to cope with high-profile departures

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 15:21, 20 May 2019

Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke is backing his side to reinvent themselves following a number of high profile departures.

Upon announcing his imminent departure, Antoine Griezmann became the latest member of Diego Simeone’s squad to say goodbye this summer after Juanfran, Diego Godin and Lucas Hernandez.

Who goes where?: Five things to know…

  1. Lucas Hernandez (110 appearances) is moving to Bayern Munich.
  2. Diego Godin (389 apps) has yet to confirm his next club but Inter Milan are the favourites.
  3. Antoine Griezmann (257 apps) has been heavily associated with Barcelona.
  4. Juanfran (355 apps), meanwhile, will become a free agent.
  5. Luciano Vietto (38 apps), who spent the 2018/19 season on loan at Fulham, is joining Sporting CP.

There are more than 1,110 appearances for Atleti between those four players who have all played a pivotal role in the club’s recent successes both domestically and in Europe.

The Rojiblancos finished their 2018/19 campaign as runners-up to Barcelona in La Liga meaning Champions League football will be played at the Wanda Metropolitano next season.

The prospect of playing top-level European club football is certain to attract players and the powers that be in Madrid will be determined to strengthen.

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However, as far as Koke is concerned there’s no need to panic, the former Atleti academy graduate has seen it before and hopes whoever comes in to fill the shoes of these departing players adapt quickly.

“We always reinvent ourselves. I hope we can do so, and I hope that the players who arrive can adapt as fast as possible,” he told the club’s official website.

“I’m very excited about next season. Important players are leaving and we have to thank them because they’ve been a part of an incredible Atlético de Madrid side.”

Can history continue to repeat itself?

The loss of Griezmann and his goals would be tough for most teams but not Atleti who have made it a regular habit of successfully replacing those high-calibre marksmen. It was a point Simeone stressed ahead of their final La Liga game of the season at Levante.

“We signed knowing that Atletico are bigger than all of us. [Fernando] Torres left, [Diego] Forlan, [Sergio] Aguero, [Diego] Costa, Griezmann… and we keep competing,” he told reporters.

Missing from his examples, which goes to show how many incredible strikers they’ve recently boasted, are Radamel Falcao, Mario Mandzukic and David Villa.

So, with all eyes on Atletico’s subsequent recruitment drive, it remains to be seen who fills those shoes. Diego Costa, though, remains while Alvaro Morata has a season left on loan from Chelsea.

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