A packed VIP room witnessed the presentation of Argentine defender Martín Demichelis. The player joins Atleti for a single season, after turning down a three- season contract from River Plate, the team where he made his debut back in 2002, and where he had promised to return after seeing out his contract with Málaga.
“I couldn’t reject the call from Atleti. I had to choose what was best for my career over my feelings. You can’t say no to a winning team like Atlético de Madrid.”
The event kicked off with a short speech by President Enrique Cerezo on the player’s 11-season-long career so far.
“Adding an experienced player like Martín was a step forward for the club in a Champions League season, because the squad will gain experience and know-how in such a demanding competition,” he stated.
He then thanked Demichelis for his decision to come to Atleti over River Plate: “We know it was a difficult decision and we thank you.”
The player then fielded questions from the reporters, assuring that the kind presentation had been very moving.
“Deciding to come was a hard choice. I opted for the best sports project and I want to fight for the three competitions at stake. I’m joining a team of experienced winners commanded by a coach that only lives to win. I hope I can be up to the challenge of being a part of this great institution and group of talented players. I want to start working with “Profe” Ortega and the rest of the coaching staff and add my two cents,” he said.
“Even though I felt the moral obligation of returning to River Plate after having seen a contract out for the first time in my life, it was hard to decide on coming. Plus, it was not easy to leave a city that gave me as much as Málaga these past years. At the end, the best project was the one I chose.”
“Being one of the veteran players helps add experience to the group, but this is a talented side full of winners anyway. Winning makes you want to win more, so I am sure that we can still aim to obtain more silverware, but we have to go one step at a time.”
Atleti’s new number 24 then acknowledged the hard work needed to get the nod for the starting line-up: “Both Godín and Miranda have done a great job. They have Cholo’s confidence. I’ll try to work hard to earn my own space in the team. I just hope to do things well and not get injured during the season.”
Ever since Simeone called an end to his holidays, things have started to move at Atleti. In a single week, Villa and Demichelis have been personally convinced by the tactician. Cholo rules, Spanish reporter Rubén Uría stated the day before.
He went on : “What do they need a sports director for if Simeone is doing Caminero’s job?”
The feeling is the team has a winning spirit surplus with Simeone around. Important and experienced players attend his summons to join “the group,” as he dubs the team, and Simeone normally doesn’t take no for an answer.
Demichelis is on board, in to his own words, because “Simeone is always desperate to win, and makes you feel the same.”