After nearly a decade long stay in the Spanish capital, Atletico Madrid captain Diego Godin has announced that he will be leaving Los Colchoneros at the end of the season.
Speaking at an emotional press conference at the Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday morning, the 33-year-old fought back tears as he confirmed he was bringing his time at the club to an end after nine successful years.
With his current deal set to expire next month, the 126-cap Uruguay international had not been offered an extension by Diego Simeone’s side and is now expected to join Inter Milan on a free transfer.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 7, 2019
Since making the move from Villarreal for a fee in the region of £10million back in 2010, Godin has made 381 appearances for Atletico and has played a huge part in their transformation into a European heavyweight.
Still holding the record for having played the most games for Atletico as a foreign player, Godin helped the club clinch a first La Liga title in 18 years in 2013-14.
The fearsome central defender also won two Europa Leagues, the Copa del Rey, Spanish Super Cup and three Uefa Super Cups with Atletico, as well as reaching the 2014 and 2016 Champions League finals, losing both times to Real Madrid.
While Godin’s final season with Atletico won’t lead to him lifting the La Liga crown for a second time, the 33-year-old has played a huge part in their push for a second-place finish in Spain’s top-tier.
Speaking to Spanish media on Tuesday morning, a clearly emotional Godin announced his decision to leave Atletico and the press-conference was filled by the club’s entire first-team squad along with Atletico chairman, Enrique Cerezo.
“I’m more nervous than for any game, it’s the truth,”
“These are going to be my last days at Atletico Madrid.
“Atleti have been my family, my club and my home, and it’s very hard to say goodbye. I had a wonderful time and I wanted to thank all of you.
“The most beautiful phase of my career and my life comes to an end. I’m proud to have been a part of this club’s history. I’m very thankful.”
With it now confirmed that Atletico’s iconic skipper will be leaving this summer, Simeone’s side play Sevilla on Sunday at the Wanda Metropolitano, and the timing of his announcement will allow fans to give the centre back a rousing send-off this weekend.
Sadly for fans in the Spanish capital, Godin is not the only world class defender that will be leaving the Wanda Metropolitano this summer.
Earlier in the season, it was announced that World Cup-winning full-back Lucas Hernandez had signed a pre-contract agreement with defending Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.
There also remains plenty of speculation surrounding the future of some of Atletico’s most experienced defenders.
Former Chelsea left-back Felipe Luis and Spanish international Juanfran are both out of contact with the former European champions when the season draws to an end.
With Atletico looking to fill Godin’s void this summer, The Daily Mail are reporting that Simeone has set his sights on adding Manchester City’s Nicolas Otamendi to his squad when the transfer window opens.