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Axel Witsel basks in Atletico Madrid depth

Axel Witsel lauded Atletico Madrid’s squad depth after he was unveiled as the club’s latest signing on Wednesday.

Witsel joined Atleti on a free transfer upon the expiry of his contract with Borussia Dortmund.

After lucrative spells with Zenit Saint Petersburg and Tianjin Quanjian.

Despite Hector Herrera’s departure, the Belgium international bolsters Atleti’s midfield along with the return of Saul Niguez from his loan at Chelsea, joining Geoffrey Kondogbia and Daniel Wass as a defensive presence in the middle.

During his presentation at the Wanda Metropolitano, Witsel asserted that this Atletico Madrid squad has the “highest quality” over his career.

“This is a group with a lot of quality,” Witsel said. “I could say many players – Koke, Joao [Felix], [Antoine] Griezmann, Yannick [Carrasco], [Matheus] Cunha.

“We have a group with a lot of quality, and it is vital because there is a perfect mentality, with players who always want to work hard.

“I’ve been through many clubs, and it’s true that being here and having trained with the group.

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Axel Witsel basks in Atletico Madrid depth

“I think it’s the group with the highest quality of all my career.

“There are a lot of international, and I’m very proud to be here and to be part of this group.”

Despite his age, Axel Witsel showed continued durability last season, only missing five games in all competitions for Dortmund last season. Their season ended poorly, though, with a last-16 exit in Europa League following a group stage knockout in the Champions League, while eventually finishing eight points off Bundesliga winners Bayern Munich.

The 33-year-old also praised new boss Diego Simeone, citing him as a motivating factor behind joining Atleti and their ability to keep him playing at the highest level after his expiry at Dortmund.

Axel Witsel said:

“It is clear that he is one of the best coaches in the world. It is one of the reasons why I am here.

“Recently, we have focused on the physical, and I have not been able to talk much with him.

“But I am very proud to work with him.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are, at 33 or 23, you can always learn something.

“And you can always learn from him.

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Axel Witsel basks in Atletico Madrid depth

“I was free, and I chose Atletico because I wanted to continue at a high level, I know I don’t have ten years left.

“But I want to take advantage of my last few years to play at the highest level.

“Atletico is at that level, and that’s why I’m here.”

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