Atlético landed safely on Colombian soil Monday evening local time and were greeted by the press and residents of the capital city of Bogotá, where the club will play the first of a series of three friendlies in the country on Wednesday evening against local side Millonarios.
Just a few hours after the Europa League Champions’ arrival, Atleti’s Colombian duo of Radamel Falcao – the main attraction of the event -and Luis Amaranto Perea, took part in a press conference at the Hilton in Bogotá where our men will be staying the next couple of nights.
Amid rampant speculation that los Rojiblancos’ leading scorer Falcao will be sold off to the highest bidder after only his first season at Atlético, the striker shrugged off notions of his imminent departure.
“I’m enjoying the moment with Atlético Madrid and there’s no reason to let it go to waste,” ‘El Tigre’ was quoted as saying by the Spanish EFE news agency.
“Plus, I have four years of contract with the club and I’m only thinking about that. Of course Miguel Ángel Gil [Marín] said that there was a need to qualify for the Champions League for financial reasons, but the club is making a strong effort to keep the squad together.
“We’ll wait and see in the coming months how these team issues get resolved.”
Perea dispels Betis rumours
Eight-year Atleti veteran Perea, a Colombia international himself along with Falcao, recently announced that his long spell at the Vicente Calderón would be coming to a close at the end of this season.
Reports in the Spanish press suggested Real Betis were keen on bringing the 30-year-old defender to Sevilla, but he dismissed those claims on Monday.
“The Betis [rumours] are only speculations,” Perea said.
“I haven’t met with anyone from that club and anything that’s been said about that is false. I’ve spoken to other clubs with whom I haven’t agreed to anything with, but with [Betis] there has been no type of contact.”
The centre-back is expected to take part in Wednesday’s friendly at Millos’ El Campín stadium, though it’s unclear if he has fully recovered from his hamstring injury that kept him from playing in our last few matches of the campaign.
Perea will suit up in the red and white shirt for the last time during this trip.
Atlético will reportedly rake in €1.2 million from Colombia tour
Dani Hidalgo of Spanish paper AS reports that Atleti will earn €400,000 per match, for a net total of €1.2 million from their friendlies against Millonarios on the 16th, América (Cali) on the 19th and Atlético Huila (Neiva) on the 22nd.
All 22 members of the team made the trip to Colombia, while Pedro Martín, along with Joel and Pulido – the latter two having completed their loan spells at Rayo Vallecano – will join the squad in Bogotá on Tuesday.