Not much fanfare surrounded the presentation of Uruguayan central defender José María Giménez that took place on Wednesday, likely due to the fact that the deal for his transfer from Uruguayan side Danubio was completed three months ago.
The player is still fairly unknown to Spanish supporters, but his record, in any case, is at least promising.
Though still very young, he was a starter with the recent U20 World Cup runners-up, Uruguay. Atleti supporters familiarised themselves with their new back-up defender throughout the competition, especially during the match that knocked out Spain (we all remember Manquillo’s heartbreaking tears at the end of the match).
Giménez has only had 16 appearances with Danubio, yet was considered a starter and was appreciated for covering the central defender or right fullback positions effectively. Cutting “Cata” Díaz and Pulido loose to allow space for Demichelis and Giménez seems a calculated move by the club, who are seeking more versatility in the back-up players.
Giménez started the preseason the day before his presentation at Majadahonda with the rest of his new teammates, and is set to stay in Madrid while most of the team travel to Argentina for the next round of the preseason. He will be kept company by the most of the recent signings, as well as the Spanish U20 trio Manquillo, Saúl and Óliver.
“We bring a player aboard that is what we seek in every signing: courage, personality and talent combined,” president Cerezo stated at the presentation. He went on to define him as swift, talented with the ball, and agile.
When asked about the short hiatus between the end of the U20 World Cup campaign and his official start as a Rojiblanco, he wasn’t upset: “Signing for Atlético is a huge step forward in my career. It is well worth missing most of this year’s vacation.”
The player provided very few headlines when he fielded questions by the press, though he did exhibit a lot of self confidence.
When asked whether he preferred to play in central defence or as a fullback, he was very clear: “I think I can get the job done in both parts of the field. I like playing in either position and don’t prefer one over the other.”
When asked to describe himself he said, “I’m very fast and tough, I play each ball as if it were the last one.”
“I’ve only been here for two days. Having “Cebolla” and Godín aboard have made things easier these first days, but everyone is being very kind and helpful, so it’s been easy to adapt.”
He spoke more on having the chance to learn from Godín: “He’s very important for Uruguayan football. He’s definitely someone to look up to. I want to learn a lot from him. My style is to play it safe and not leave the defence unguarded. I hope I can find my space and become useful to the group.”
Giménez is yet to be assigned a squad number.