Atletico Madrid stars Koke and Juanfran put an end to the transfer speculation surrounding them by penning contract extensions at the Vicente Calderon Stadium, the club announced Wednesday.
The La Liga champions broke the news via their website, praising the impact that both players have had in their time in the red and white of Atletico (translated by author):
“Koke and Juanfran have extended their contracts with our club until 2019 and 2018 respectively. Both players are fundamental pieces of recent successes and Atletico renovations are great news for our organisation.”
Both players have been subjects of the summer transfer rumour mill, with both Spaniards being linked to a whole host of clubs, including Barcelona and Chelsea.
However, with Atletico now securing their services for five and four years respectively, it looks like neither player will be leaving anytime soon.
Why would they, though? The Madrid club are going through the most fruitful spell in their rich history, securing their first Spanish title in 18 years and also reaching last year’s Champions League final.
Koke and Juanfran have been integral to the club's success, with the former enjoying a coming-of-age season last term.
The 22-year-old scored six goals and created 13 more in 2013/14, per WhoScored.com, and is widely regarding as the “next Xavi.”
His link-up play with Diego Costa was the cornerstone of Atletico’s domestic and European success last season, and though Costa may be on his way out, keeping Koke in the Spanish capital will no doubt bring more success to the club.
It’s clear that the midfielder has an extremely bright future for both club and country, and Spain manager Vicente del Bosque was quick to recognise that fact, per FourFourTwo:
“Xavi’s words on Koke were right. He is one of the midfielders with more future. Koke will be a key man in the national team. We hope so.”
Though Spain’s 2014 World Cup campaign came to a disastrous end at the group stage, there’s plenty of time for Koke to enjoy future tournaments, and with the praise coming from the top of the Spanish order, that could be sooner rather than later.
Juanfran, meanwhile, plays second fiddle to Cesar Azpilicueta on the national team, but he proved last season that he’s one of the best right-backs in the world.
A regular in Atletico’s title-winning side, it was surprising to see Juanfran take a back seat in Brazil having chalked up more domestic minutes than any player in the squad—per OptaJose:
However, when he returns to duty with the Spanish champions, he certainly won’t find playing time hard to come by having made the position his own.
It’s difficult to envisage Atletico enjoying the same, overwhelming success that they enjoyed last season, but why can’t they? No one expected them to lift the La Liga trophy, but thanks to Koke and Juanfran’s input, they did.
With the pair declaring themselves red and white for the foreseeable future, we could now be seeing a lot more of Atletico at the top of the world game for years to come.