Uruguay defender Diego Godin has announced his decision to leave Atletico Madrid at the end of the season.
Godin stated on Tuesday that he will not renew his contract with the Spanish club after failing to reach a deal.
The 33-year-old defender couldn’t hold back tears as he made the announcement in a news conference in front of relatives and teammates.
He appeared in 387 matches in nine seasons for Atletico, helping the club clinch a Spanish league title, two Europa Leagues, three UEFA Super Cups, a Spanish Super Cup, and a Copa del Rey.
“I’m going to leave Atlético Madrid, these are my last days here. Thanks to everyone, it has been my family,” he revealed.
Godin’s exit has been mooted for some time now with reports claiming he already signed a pre-contract with Inter Milan and according to Italian football journalist Fabrizio Romano on Twitter, this move will be completed in the next few days.
The Uruguayan was top of Jose Mourinho’s wishlist for Manchester United last summer, as he sought to bolster his faltering defence.
Diego Godin: “I refused Manchester United bid one year ago because I decided to stay at Atlético Madrid. Now – one year later – it’s time to go”. He has already signed his contract with Inter. 🔴 #Atleti #MUFC #transfers
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 7, 2019
Godin is rated as one of the game’s finest central defenders, developing that reputation in the Spanish capital after joining in 2010, a year before Diego Simeone arrived.
He is not a modern breed of defender, especially with the growing obsession of ball-playing ability. Perhaps that is one reason Godin is slightly overlooked in discussions of world football’s best.
He is every bit the archetypal ‘old school’ centre-half. Phenomenally strong in the air, loves to tackle and challenge forwards directly and has the ability to burst forward on the rampage from time to time.
His forays forward aren’t graceful or technical—akin to Raphael Varane or David Luiz, perhaps—but the power and surprise element he brings is also effective.
In attack, his importance has been known for years—he scored the goal that sealed the La Liga title for Atletico and netted in the Champions League final, too.
In Godin, Simeone had the perfect ‘do as I say’ defender. He was willing to take a bullet for his manager and the team. The ex-Villareal man is disciplined, calm and diligent in duty. He is every manager’s delight.
It remains to be seen how Simeone replaces his most trusted stalwart, his skipper. Only time will tell.