Marcos Llorente has praised off-season additions in Axel Witsel and Alvaro Morata, prompting him to suggest Atletico Madrid will compete on all fronts this upcoming term.
While the likes of Luis Suarez, Hector Herrera and Sime Vrsaljko departed this off-season, Witsel joined Atleti on a free transfer upon the expiry of his contract with Borussia Dortmund. At the same time, Morata returns from his loan spell at Juventus.
Llorente became a utility for Diego Simeone last term, earning time on the pitch as a right-back, on the right wing and in central midfield as Atleti sputtered to a third-placed finish in LaLiga.
The 27-year-old believes that while Witsel has needed some time to adapt to Simeone’s game plan, he will bolster Atleti’s midfield, enabling them to compete on domestic and continental fronts.
Llorente told Cadena Ser:
“He is a lovely guy who will help us a lot.
“He even has to adapt because coming here is not easy. And he will give us a better exit from our half in possession. He has a perfect touch.
“He is adapting to what the coach asks of him little by little, and he is an intelligent guy who learns quickly. I think he is going to have a great season.
“I think the team will compete in all competitions. We have a team for that. The new additions will make us grow more. We are very confident in what we can do.”
Despite the lack of positional continuity, Llorente has found a home at Atleti under Simeone since arriving in 2019, maximising his dynamism and forcing his way into Spain’s national team selection.
While adding he “belongs” at Atletico Madrid, Llorente backed his club and international team-mate, Alvaro Morata, who he believes will hit the ground running before the World Cup.
“I see him very well. I think he can bring us many qualities. We all know him even if he has been away,” Llorente said. “His matches with the national team show it. He is a top striker who is going to come in handy.
“We want to show what we are capable of. But, unfortunately, last season we were very irregular. Things didn’t work out for us. Although we finished well, it was a season we did not count on.
“The objective is to continue with what was seen in that ending. Players arrive who raise the quality of the team, so we are looking forward to this beginning.”
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