Atleti are currently in Japan, where they are getting ready for the first of a two game Asian tour against J-League outfit Sagan Tosu on Saturday.
The Rojiblancos will also play a game in China against Sven-Göran Eriksson’s team Shanghai SIPG, and are set to rake in €2million from the trip according to AS.
Diego Simeone and a squad of 22 touched down in Saga yesterday, and were met with an impressive welcome from local fans who came to greet them at the airport.
The club have been working hard to try and globalise their profile and gain more attention from overseas markets, as seen by the rapid rise in social media popularity as of late.
However, even they probably would not have expected such a reception, as 2,000 fans turned up to watch the team train on Friday evening.
Fernando Torres in particular attracts a big following given his reputation among Premier League and Spanish national team watchers – ‘Torresmania’ was how his presence was described in today’s MARCA.
The likes of Simeone and Griezmann were also receiving plenty of attention, and the latter took part in a training workshop with local children this morning, where Atleti are set to open up an academy following on from the one they already have in China.
With 20% of the club now owned by multi-billionaire Wang Jianlin and the Dalian Wanda group, it seems the club is really ready to try and target the Asian market and look for growth in the far east.
This comes after our franchise club, Atlético de Kolkata, won the inaugaral Indian Super League last season, which is attracting more and more big names and regularly attracts crowds of 50,000 and up.
For years, fans have suffered and genuinely had to fear for the future of their club, but thanks to the incredible work from Simeone and sporting successes in the last few years, we may finally be looking at brighter times away from the pitch as a result.
After a series of promotional events, the team get the match action underway tomorrow against Sagan Tosu, set for a start time of 12:00pm CET.
They will then travel to China for a clash with Shanghai SIPG on Tuesday, before returning to Spain and continuing with pre-season preparation. Kick-off there will be at 13:00pm CET.
The whole first team squad are present, other than Raúl Jiménez, Diego Godín, José María Giménez and new signings Jackson Martínez and Filipe Luís who all returned late having competed at the Copa América.
Goalkeepers: Moyá, Oblak
Defenders: Siqueira, Savic, Gámez, Lucas, Juanfran, Velázquez, Iván Pérez
Midfielders: Tiago, Koke, Raúl García, Óliver, Gabi, Saúl, Carrasco, Thomas, Xu Xin
Forwards: Griezmann, Torres, Vietto, Correa
Keep an eye on the website and follow AtléticoFans on Twitter for updates on the tour!