Atlético have paid €10.5 million for Raúl Jiménez, a young forward who comes to reinforce the much changed rojiblanco squad. After successfully passing his medical, the player signed a 6-year contract with the club.
In a short interview given soon afterwards, the 23-year-old stressed his desire to “go beyond the league title and make history” as well as his willingness “to play good matches, grow step by step with all my teammates, setting new goals and new challenges”.
“The courage, the dedication I’ve shown in each match in Mexico, I think that’s what defines me”, he added.
When asked about Simeone’s Atlético, Jiménez was eloquent, expressing the team’s philosophy in a few words: “Atleti is a team that fights for each ball to the death”.
At 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in), the Mexican international is the tallest player in the team, with a powerful yet nimble physique. Jiménez is known as a “supporting striker”, or “second striker”, rather than a regular goal-scorer. His strengths are being able to pick a pass and provide assists to his teammates.
Apart of that, he has the power to piss off whole nations.
Saturday night, the former America footballer played his debut match in red-and-white against Sampdoria, a characteristically defensive mid-table Serie A team.
He struggled hard to get his name on the score sheet, constantly threatening the opponent’s defence, moving around well and showing good ball skills.
After picking up a minor injury in the end of the game, he left the field but promised to come back soon: “It was only a cramp in the left calf, because of the trip and the few days that I’ve been training”.
“I adapted fast to the team. I think that good plays were made during good moments of the game and that’s what I have to do, adapt in the best way, and do it as I‘d been doing in Mexico”, he commented later. “Happy to be able to obtain the title”.
However, there’s a part of Jiménez’s life that some of the fans do not wish to accept. His allegiance to Atlético’s arch-rivals, Real Madrid, has been a subject of controversy.
Maybe if we look at the situation closer, it will clear up many doubts.
From the tender nail, Raúl has been a devoted Real Madrid supporter. His idol was the notorious rojiblanco-turned-blanco Hugo Sánchez.
Once, during his father’s vacation, young Raúl was lucky enough to visit Madrid where he took an excursion to Santiago Bernabéu and, looking at Sanchez’s Golden Boot, told his father at the drop of a hat: “Padre, I’m going to be a footballer and play as good as Hugo”.
So far he’s lived up to the promise – he’s a footballer now, following the steps of the legendary striker. And if he goes to Real for €100 million after scoring a hundred goals for Atlético, won’t it be a good deal?
Here’s what Mexican national coach, Miguel Herrera, had to say about our latest signing:
“Raúl is a techincally well-equipped player, strong, powerful. And I have no doubt he’ll do well in Atlético. It’s a wonderful choice. Atlético charmed everyone last year, and Raúl will be up to its level. He has a character and the training to make a meteoric career.
“Regarding his affection to Real, there are many people in Mexico who support Real because of Hugo Sánchez but also a lot of those who support Barcelona because of Rafa Márquez. Raúl is a professional, and even childhood interests will not keep him from sparing no effort for Atlético”.
What are your thoughts on Jiménez’s transfer? Did his performance against Sampdoria impress you?
With the season’s start drawing on, there are only three players linked – believably – with the rojiblancos: José Jurado, José Sosa and Alessio Cerci (whose transfer has reportedly been agreed at €20 million).
Who do you think would be the best addition to the team already packed with attacking players?