Football News

Mourinho: Atletico must fight for Champions League and La Liga after summer of spending

By Harry Edwards

Published: 18:24, 13 August 2019

Jose Mourinho insists Atletico Madrid have a “responsibility” to challenge for the Champions League and La Liga after their summer of spending.

Diego Simeone’s side have made nine signings so far this summer, spending over £200m, with three weeks still remaining in the Spanish transfer window.

What should Atletico Madrid be aiming for this season? Five things to know…

  • Atletico Madrid finished second in La Liga last season.
  • The Spanish capital club were also knocked out in the Champions League last 16.
  • Atleti have spent over £200m on nine players this summer.
  • Joao Felix is the marquee signing, joining for £113m.
  • And Jose Mourinho believes Atletico must be fighting for Champions League and La Liga glory.

The marquee signing of the bunch has been the arrival of talented Portuguese teenager Joao Felix for £113m – the fifth most expensive transfer in history.

Felix was joined at the Wanda Metropolitano by Marcos Llorente, Mario Hermoso, Kieran Tripier, Felipe, Renan Lodi, Ivan Saponjic, Hector Herrera and Nicolas Ibanez – though the latter was immediately loaned back to San Luis.

Atletico have also seen key outgoings, however, with the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Lucas Hernandez, Rodri, Filipe Luis and Diego Godin moving on.

But despite this, Mourinho – who used to manage Atletico’s rivals Real Madrid – believes Simeone’s side must now challenge for domestic and continental glory.

“Atletico Madrid’s level of investment leaves them with responsibility to fight for the Champions League and La Liga,” Mourinho told the Portuguese Football Federation’s television channel.

“It’s clear that Barcelona and Real Madrid have to be there because of their power, financial capability, culture and quality.

“Atletico in recent years have been without this responsibility, but the level of investment they’ve made is incredible.

“It’s time to say, ‘We’re here, we’re big, we want to be big and we are here to win’.”

Atletico Madrid have finished runners-up three times in the Champions League and European Cup, most recently losing on penalties to Real Madrid in 2016.

They have also gone five years without a league title, finishing third three times and second twice since their 2014 glory.

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Joao Felix cannot hide from transfer fee despite age

Mourinho also spoke on young Portuguese star Joao Felix, stating the 19-year-old will be under pressure because of his transfer fee, and cannot use his age as an excuse for failing to deliver.

“He has a challenge due to the extent of his talent and because of the investment the club have made on him,” he added.

“I believe that he can’t escape this responsibility. It doesn’t matter if he’s 18, 20 or 25.

“What matters is his talent and the responsibility he has.”