Kieran Trippier has revealed the “absolute privilege” of working under Diego Simeone played a huge part in his decision to join Atletico Madrid.
The England defender was officially presented by Atletico on Thursday afternoon after leaving Tottenham to sign for the Spanish giants on a three-year deal for a reported £20million.
The 28-year-old says moving to Spain fulfils a long-held ambition of his and he pledged to give his all for the club and new boss Simeone, who he holds in the highest regard.
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) July 18, 2019
Asked how much his decision to join Atletico was influenced by the chance to play for the most successful coach in Rojiblancos history, Trippier said: “He was massive.
“From watching Atletico over the years you see what he demands of his team, the work ethic. They give everything for the team, the badge. It’s like a big family here and I wanted to be a part of this.
“For me, he’s one of the best managers in the world and it’s an absolute privilege to play for him and give everything I can for him. ”
He added: “Obviously the Premier League is one of the best leagues in the world, but when Atletico Madrid were interested I didn’t think twice.
“It was a great opportunity for myself, my family, to come and live in Madrid and experience it.
“Me and Mauricio (Tottenham boss Pochettino) had a conversation about my future. I explained there was a big opportunity at Atletico Madrid and it was an opportunity that I didn’t want to turn down.”
Trippier joins a relatively small group of English players to try their luck in Spain and is determined to make the most of the experience.
Trophies are obviously high on his agenda, but the former Burnley full-back insists his first port of call is to learn the language as soon as possible.
Trippier, who will wear the number 23 shirt at Atletico, the same number compatriot David Beckham wore at Real Madrid, said: “(It’s a source of) pride and a great challenge for me to come here.
Can you name the other 🔟? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/31tBddbaiW
— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) July 18, 2019
“The most important thing is to get involved in the culture of the players and learn the language.
“My main priority is to learn the language straight away, to make it easier for my family and just enjoy playing for Atletico and living in Madrid.
“I’ve always wanted to speak Spanish anyway and this gives me a better opportunity to do that.”
Bury-born Trippier was on Manchester City’s books as a youngster before moving to Burnley in 2011 and then Tottenham in 2015.
His last competitive game for Spurs came in June’s Champions League final defeat to Liverpool at the Wanda Metropolitano – a venue he will now be calling home.
Trippier added of his decision to leave England: “I’ve always wanted to play abroad, especially LaLiga, since I was young and I’ve got a great opportunity now and it’s one that I’m going to really enjoy and give my all.
“I’m delighted to be here and I’m looking forward to exciting times ahead and trying to help the team achieve great things.”