A At this point in his life, with eleven titles to his name (he won with Standard Liege, benfica, Zenit Saint Petersburg Y Borussia Dortmund), his two participations in the European Championships and the World Cup (in the most recent, in Russia 2018, he was third) and his more than 600 professional matches between his clubs and the national team. Belgiumit is not necessary to say much more about the figure on axel witzelnext signing of Athletic. Better late than never, because rojiblancos have been waiting for him to come for eight years … shortly after his name also appeared on the agenda for real Madrid.
It would be the summer of 2014 for the first time that Atlético would launch an offensive for Witsel, when 25 years old and just finished his first participation in a World Cup. The midfielder had been recorded on the radar by Simeone since ten months earlier, when he ended the 180 minutes of the double confrontation against Zenit in the group stage. Master (3-1 in Calderón and 1-1 in St. Petersburg).
Atlético, however, would face the rejection of the Russian club, which two years earlier had paid 20 kilos plus another six in variables to Benfica to make Witsel the most important business in Portuguese football history at that time. After all, the Atletico Sports Directorate would not forget his name, which has now become clear.
In fact, one and a half years later, in December 2015, another new attempt would take place. fracture of the tibia James left Atlético helm, so Witsel would return to the site. Unfortunately for rojiblanca and Cholo, Zenit’s response would be the same again, which made the illusion of hiring the midfielder disappear.
To make matters worse, Simeone would still have to suffer like Witsel, once he finished his trip to Russia and after his surprising time at Tianjin Quanjian Chinese, was the engine of Borussia Dortmund that passed Atlético in the group stage of the Champions League season 18-19. The Belgian would actually open the 4-0 account that was the biggest shake-up for Cholo’s in the competition.
He could play in Madrid … dressed in white
When Atlético saw Witsel eight years ago, the midfielder was already considered one of them pearls most promising of Europe. So much so that Real Madrid had already tested him two seasons earlier, when he stepped out on a Benfica that had not hesitated to pay eight million to Standard de Liège even though he was 22 years old then.
With Girl Y altintop On the exit ramp, Real Madrid were looking for a midfielder and Witsel met all the requirements to wear white. In fact, in May 2012, the Portuguese press was already talking about an agreement in principle at the same time Rui Costa, sports director for Benfica, has already given him up for losing. However, it would be the pre-season two months later that would stop convincing the whites.
Although Real Madrid had already started contacts to try to sign modrica friendly match in Lisbon would lead to Mourinho to point out to the midfielder that he wanted in case the negotiation for the Croatian would not bear fruit. It was not for less, because Witsel had shone with a goal included in Benfica’s hand (5-2).
Finally, not without difficulty, it Tottenham would access Modric’s exit, which would close the doors Bernabeu to a Witsel who a few days after the market closed would accept Zenit’s proposal before becoming the target for Atlético, who will finally, after eight years of waiting, be able to enjoy it.