LNTUP

Saul Niguez commits his future to Los Rojiblancos

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The 22-year-old midfielder, who came through the academy and youth set-up at Atlético Madrid, has signed a new nine-year contract with Atlético Madrid – that will run until June 2026.

Saul Ñíguez, who top scored at the recently concluded European Under-21 Championship, has emerged as one of the most exciting midfield talents in Europe over the past two seasons.

The versatile midfielder already had a deal with the Los Rojiblancos until 2021, but with the likes of FC Barcelona and Manchester United roaming around the 22-year-old, Atlético were keen keen on handing him a new deal and they have been able to persuade the Spain international to commit his future to the Red and Whites.

Atlético are subject to a transfer ban until January 2018 so keeping Ñíguez and Antoine Griezmann, who signed a one-year extension this summer, were key for their early-season hopes.

“I am very happy because at Atlético we are a family and there is no better place to be,” Ñíguez said in a statement.

“I will work my full potential on the field as always to pay back the trust that the club is giving to me. I’d like to thank all my team-mates and the coaching staff for their help day by day so that I can be the player I am today.”

Saul, who made 53 appearances for Atlético last season, made his B team debut for the Red and Whites at a minimal age of 16. His overwhelming performances earned him a call in the senior team and he made his first-team debut a year later, against Besiktas in the Europa League.

Diego Simeone opted to loan him out to Rayo Vallecano during the 2013-14 season, an experience which strengthened his development as Atletico won their first Spanish title since 1996.