‘I want to retire at Atletico Madrid’ – Saul dismisses Barcelona transfer speculation

Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez intends to retire at the club despite reported interest from the likes of Barcelona.

Saul came through the ranks at Atletico and has established himself as a key player under Diego Simeone.

Although he is still just 23, this season is Saul’s fifth successive campaign in the Atletico first team, with his versatility proving a key part in the club winning five trophy, including two Europa League triumphs.

Barcelona were strongly linked with Saul in pre-season, while he felt compelled to say a move to Real Madrid was “unthinkable” in September.

But Atletico can feel safe in the knowledge that the Spain international never wants to leave the club, having signed a nine-year deal in 2017.

When asked whether he will retire at Atletico, Saul told Radio Nacional Espana: “That’s why I signed a long-term contract.

“That’s my intention, to be at Atletico Madrid all my life, but in the world of football you never know.

“For me, yes [I want to retire at Atletico], but maybe I have a bad couple of years and then they grow to not love me anymore.”

The midfielder has played over 200 times for Atleti in all competitions, as well as 70 more times for the club’s B team in the Segunda Division. He has been in Madrid all his career, even joining local side Rayo Vallecano during his brief loan spell away from Atletico in 2013-14.

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After a strong season with Rayo, he returned to Atletico Madrid, becoming a key part of their first team, where he helped them reach the Champions League final. He was named in the starting XI against Real Madrid and despite scoring in the shootout, saw his side suffer defeat on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

His good form also saw him receive international recognition, earning 12 caps to date. He was an unused substitute during the 2018 World Cup, but has been a key player under new head coach Luis Enrique and scored his first international goal against England in September before adding his second in the following game with Croatia.