Captain Gabi says new signings will diversify Atletico

Madrid, July 31 (IANS) Atletico Madrid captain Gabi Fernandez has praised the new footballers signed to the club, stressing that they will come in handy by “providing variants”.

In an interview published by the Spanish National Professional Football League, defensive midfielder Gabi said on Thursday that Atletico are a “competitive team,” while the Spaniard hoped that the new arrivals “will adapt soon”, reports Efe.

Atletico have signed two strikers before the start of the new season, Colombian Jackson Martinez from Porto and Argentine Luciano Vietto from Villarreal, in addition to Belgian winger Yannick Carrasco from Monaco. On defence, the club enlisted Montenegrin centre-back Stefan Savic from Fiorentina, and also confirmed the return of Brazilian left back Filipe Luis from Chelsea.

The Rojiblancos will start the new La Liga season on August 22 at the Vicente Calderon Stadium here, where they will first host UD Las Palmas and then visit Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium in the second round. They will entertain Barcelona and Real Madrid in the third and seventh round, respectively.

“I see the team well. We are slowly picking up the pace that the coach demands from us. There are 25 days left to begin to compete and the beginning is going to be very hard, so we must prepare well,” the 32-year-old said.

The Atletico captain considers that the team’s tour in Japan and China will be a great way to boost the club’s popularity, but also will be a good experience for the players, who will prepare for the new season with two matches: the first against Japan’s Sagan Tosu on Saturday, followed by a match against China’s Shanghai SIPG F.C. on Tuesday.

“The club continues to grow and expand in leaps and bounds all over the world thanks to the sporting results. This is a region we wanted to get to know, that we wanted to visit to enjoy their culture.”

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