Prior to making his second trip to Germany this week to join new club Borussia Mönchengladbach, now former Atlético defender Álvaro Domínguez paid a visit to the Vicente Calderón on Thursday to bid his boyhood club and its fans an emotional farewell.
The 23-year-old was accompanied by Atleti directors, members of his family and former team-mate and fellow Rojiblanco canterano Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Camacho–now a Málaga player.
Atlético general manager Clemente Villaverde was the first to take the microphone, offering some kind words for the two-time Europa League champion.
“You’re the type of player that embodies all the values that this home has displayed,” said Villaverde.
“You have been a sign and symbol of our history because you have trained and developed yourself with us since you were little.
“I wish you a lot of luck in your new adventure in the Bundesliga, and with the Olympic national team. You know that this is your house and you can return whenever you want.”
Sporting director José Luis Pérez Caminero added: “Within the dressing room, you have shown yourself to be a leader. This is your house. The doors are open to you and this does not end here. You have a long path ahead of you.”
Finally, Álvaro gave his parting words, breaking into tears midway through his speech.
“It has been very nice for me to be here in this home since I was 13,” he said.
“I have felt incredible. These past years we have made Atlético a big [club] in Europe. I hope it continues that way wherever they go.”
He continued: “I’m young, I’m ambitious and I like to try other things and other big leagues. I will always carry this team with me in my heart.
“Germany is a big opportunity for me. I think this is to both Atlético’s and to my benefit. My home will always be here. Wherever I go, I will always take these people, family members and friends, as well as all the fans that have always been good to me, with me.