Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone says it should come as no surprise that several of the club’s biggest stars would leave this summer following the club’s success last season. After winning La Liga last season and finishing second to city rival Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League, Diego Costa, David Villa and Filipe Luis have departed the Vicente Calderon for greener pastures, while former goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was recalled by parent club Chelsea, where he will join Costa and Luis.
Speaking to the press ahead of Atleti’s preseason game against Turkish giant Galatasaray, Simeone suggested that Atletico would be targeting UCL qualification after losing so many stars. “When a team is doing as well as Atletico last year, it’s normal the most economically powerful teams can come and look for some players,” the Argentine said. “Many players have been retained. The club made a great effort to sustain this new stage, because it is new, with many parts.”
Among the new parts are Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic, signed from Bayern Munich, French winger Antoine Griezmann, signed from Real Sociedad, and goalkeeper Jan Oblak, signed from Benfica.
“We have to think for a bit, thinking about competing with Sevilla and Valencia, which is a little our line today,” Simeone added. “A little finishing will form the group and when we do that we will have clear objectives.”