MADRID (Reuters) – England right back Kieran Trippier said the lure of working with Diego Simeone, who he described as one of the top coaches around, convinced him to switch from Tottenham Hotspur to Atletico Madrid.
Trippier was unveiled as an Atletico player on Thursday, a day after completing a transfer reported to be worth 20 million pounds, while Spain defender Mario Hermoso was also presented after sealing a move from Espanyol for 25 million euros.
“From watching Atletico over the years you see what he demands of his team, his work ethic, giving everything for the team, and how close the players are with the staff and the club. I wanted to be a part of the family here,” Trippier said.
“He is for me one of the best managers in the world, so it is privilege to play for him and give everything I can for him.”
Trippier will wear number 23, the same number David Beckham had when he played for Atletico’s cross-town rivals Real Madrid.
The right back, who was one of England’s key players in their run to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, added that he had longed to play abroad and pledged to learn Spanish so he could quickly be on the same page as his team mates.
“The Premier League is one of best leagues in the world, but when Atletico were interested I didn’t think twice,” he added.
“It’s a great opportunity to come and live in Madrid. Not many British players come abroad, but I always wanted to play abroad, especially in La Liga, since I was young.
“I’m looking forward to learning the language straight away which is my first priority. The quicker I can do that, communicate with my coach and team mates, the better.”
Atletico, who were runners-up in La Liga last season, are in a period of transition after parting with key defenders Diego Godin, Juanfran, Filipe Luis and Lucas Hernandez as well as Antoine Griezmann, their top scorer for the last five seasons.
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis)