Thursday, August 24, 2006

Barca, Real Madrid, Valencia and . . . Atletico?

This is the face of the new Atletico Madrid, Sergio Aguero. Here he is in early June meeting with the club's fans for the first time. Club president Enrique Cerezo has been in the process of turning mediocre Atletico into a La Liga title-winning side. Getting into the pattern of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League every year is part of the plan as well. The central piece to the rebuilding of Atletico was securing the continued presence of Fernando Torres. Torres has pledged to stay at the club through the end of his contract, which runs until 2008. The signing of the goal-scoring Aguero from Independiente in Argentina ($29.3M) as well as Greek defender Giourkas Seitaridis from Dynamo Moscow ($15.3M), defender Andres Perni­a from Getafe (undisclosed fee), and Portuguese midfielder Costinha from Dynamo Moscow (undisclosed fee) has added to the expectations for this season's La Liga campaign. The club has recently bid for Arsenal's midfielder Jose Antonio Reyes and Maniche from Chelsea. Add this to the recently agreed upon contract extension for Argentine Maxi Rodri­guez, and the nucleus of a contending team is well on it's way to being solidified.

Mexican coach Javier Aguirre will have a lot of young talent to work with in his first season at Atletico after coming over from CA Osasuna. He managed Osasuna from 2002-2006 and helped them reach the UEFA Champions League after having finished fourth in La Liga last season. The top four finish was the club's highest placing of all time. Cerezo and Atletico would be more than happy if Aguirre could equal that same feat in his first season in Madrid.

Atletico open the new La Liga season on Sunday at Racing Santander.

Atletico waiting on Reyes and Maniche offers [Yahoo!]
Maxi extends contract until 2010 []

UPDATE: 'Nothing serious' in Reyes Atletico reports []


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