Witsel won over by Atletico Madrid boss Simeone

Ante Jukic
Stats Perform
Axel Witsel has signed for Atletico Madrid
Axel Witsel has signed for Atletico Madrid

Axel Witsel revealed an immediate connection with Diego Simeone helped him decide on a move to Atletico Madrid.

Atleti finalised Witsel's arrival on a free transfer from Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, following four seasons in the Bundesliga.

The Belgium international appears likely to be a regular fixture under the pragmatic Simeone, providing Rodrigo de Paul with an added defensive presence in midfield.

While explaining his desire to keep playing at a high level after leaving Dortmund, Witsel cited Simeone's memory of his performance for Zenit against Atletico at the old Vicente Calderon as a reflection of how he is valued at his new club.

"I decided to come here because for me it's a top club," Witsel said. "I think Atletico Madrid is one of the eight best clubs in the world, and I really wanted to stay in the top level after Dortmund.

"I talked to him [Simeone] a few weeks ago, we had directly a very good feeling. He told me, 'I remember you from 2013', when I played with Zenit at the old stadium.

"I knew he wanted me in the team and I think this is really important when you arrive in a new club. I didn't need my brother Yannick [Carrasco] to tell me I had to come to Atletico Madrid, in my head it was already clear."

The 33-year-old represents a positional need for Atletico after Hector Herrera's departure, while links to Boubacar Kamara were scuppered by his move to Aston Villa.

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LaLigaAtletico Madrid
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