The club has announced a strategic partnership with Thai Premier League champions Muangthong United.
Under the terms of the deal it’s believed the two clubs will be exchanging players, arranging friendly matches, and – possibly the most important part of such a deal from a financial perspective – selling merchandise in the other club’s territories.
Atlético Madrid CEO Miguel Gil was in Bangkok to sign the contractual agreement with Muangthong United’s deputy chairman Wiluck Lohtong. The ceremony was also witnessed by the Spanish Ambassador, Ignacio Sagaz and the Football Association of Thailand Chairman Suwat Liptapanlop, who is also honourable chairman at the Thai outfit.
The idea behind the deal from Miguel Gil’s perspective is that both clubs can reap the rewards.
“This is an important day for Atletico Madrid,” Gil announced on Friday.
“This agreement will have sporting, commercial and economic benefits for both teams.
“I hope it will encourage more Thai fans to follow the Spanish league and more Spanish fans to follow the Thai league,” he said.
The Thai side’s deputy chairman also praised the agreement.
“The partnership is another important step for our team. We hope that this will help Muangthong become stronger and ready to become one of the best teams in Asia in the near future,” said Lohtong.
Atleti travelled to Thailand in pre-season, and took on the Thai Premier League All Stars team which was put together by the Thai Football Association.
Atleti were said to be extremely impressed with the reception they got and the position Thai football is currently in. After the trip, wheels were put in motion to seal an agreement.
It’s worth noting that Muangthong United goalkeeper Kawin Thamasatchen has been invited by Manchester United to undergo a trial in January, and former midfielder Yaya Soumahoro has been earning high praise for his performances in the Belgian Juniper League.
A main part of the deal in terms of events on the field could see some Atlético Madrid players, mainly those who are unable to break into the first team, sent to Thailand with a view to gaining valuable first team experience at a reputable level.
Muangthong United coach René Desaeyere has stressed it’s unlikely that any Spanish players would be willing to make the move to Thailand, but feels it’s possible the South American players on the periphery of the Atlético Madrid squad might join Muang Thong United before the start of the new season.
Gil also revealed his wish that “in the not too distant future we could have a Thai player in our squad”.
This is the third deal of its kind that Los Rojiblancos have negotiated. Previously tied up deals include those with Shanghai Shenhua FC from China and Al Ain SC from the United Arab Emirates.