Belgium’s Axel Witsel joins Atletico Madrid

Madrid, Jul 6 (EFE).- Atletico Madrid announced Wednesday the signing of veteran Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel to a one-year contract.

“Our new midfielder will bring a lot of experience, as he has played more than 600 official games,” 77 of them in the Champions League, Atletico said in a press release.

While Witsel’s 124 appearances for Belgium include participation in the 2014 and 2018 World Cups and the 2016 and 2020 European Championships.

The 33-year-old midfielder comes to LaLiga on a free transfer from Borussia Dortmund, where he scored 10 goals in four seasons and won the German Cup and the German Supercup.

Witsel began his senior career with his hometown club, Standard Liege, and went on to stints with Benfica, Zenit St. Petersburg, and China’s Tianjin Tianhai before joining Dortmund.

The Belgian was part of league-winning sides in Liege and St. Petersburg and hoisted the Portugal League Cup with Benfica.

Atleti, heading into an 11th season under coach Diego Simeone, acquired Witsel to replace Mexican international Hector Herrera, who left the Colchoneros for Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo.

“For me, Atletico is a great club, a top team. I wanted to remain at the top level and play Champions (League). That’s why I’m here,” Witsel said in a video posted on the LaLiga’s side website.

“The fans here have a very crazy atmosphere,” he said, recalling facing Atleti in Madrid while playing for Zenit and Dortmund, and described Simeone as “one of the best coaches in the world.”

Witsel said that he heard “very good things” about Atletico Madrid from compatriot Yannick Carrasco, who has been with the Colchoneros for six seasons. EFE


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