An amazing XI of players sold by Atletico Madrid since 2010

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Diego Simeone has endured his most difficult season at Atletico Madrid, with selling players and transforming the squad finally taking its toll.

Despite that, Atleti are still on course for an eighth consecutive top-three finish under Simeone, and they knocked the holders Liverpool out of the Champions League, which is testament to his powers as a coach.

The 2010s have seen some truly wonderful footballers represent Atletico, goalkeepers and strikers in particular, and it’s a marvel that they’ve remained competitive after losing them. Here’s a full XI of players that they’ve sold over the past decade.

GK: David de Gea

Thibaut Courtois was the other obvious choice, but we’ve gone for his predecessor, who was a strong contender for being the best goalkeeper in the world throughout much of the 2010s.

RB: Juanfran

Admittedly, the right-back had given Atleti his best years by the time he left the club last summer at the age of 34, but over 350 appearances and seven appearances from a €4million signing means he is a shoo-in on the right side of defence.

CB: Lucas Hernandez

A World Cup-winner at left-back, Hernandez gets the nod in the centre of defence in this Atleti XI after being sold to Bayern Munich for a Bundesliga record €80million fee.

“The exit that hurt us the most was Lucas, who was a boy from the academy. [It hurt] More than Griezmann,” Diego Simeone told Marca in October 2019.

CB: Toby Alderweireld

We’ve left out Diego Godin as Atletico got the best out of the Uruguayan, but the same cannot be said of Alderweireld, who established himself as one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League at Southampton and Tottenham.

LB: Theo Hernandez

A strange case, Hernandez – younger brother of Lucas – never appeared for Atleti’s senior side but impressed enough to earn a €24million move to Real Madrid during a loan spell at Alaves.

The left-back only spent one season at the Bernabeu but has been one of AC Milan’s standout performers since moving to Serie A in a €20million deal.

RW: Antoine Griezmann

The sale of Lucas Hernandez may have hurt more, but Griezmann has to be in.

CM: Rodri

Worth the €70million Manchester City paid for how hard he hit this ball alone.

CM: Raul Garcia

Perhaps not the flashiest player, Garcia was a loyal servant to Atleti, making over 300 appearances over eight years and providing a healthy goal outlet from midfield.

When Garcia returned to the Calderon with Athletic Bilbao, he was greeted by banners which read: “You will always be our captain.”

The player himself also travelled to the San Siro as a fan in 2016 to see Atleti take on Real Madrid in the Champions League final.

LW: Arda Turan

Largely despised by Atletico fans after leaving for a dismal spell at Barcelona, Turan was nevertheless a crucial player under Simeone.

His performances in the Spanish capital earned comparisons ranging from “a hipster’s Jesus Christ” to Lou Reed, yet his post-Atletico career has gone a bit Phil Spector, with him receiving a suspended prison sentence for firing a gun in a hospital after breaking the nose of a pop star.

ST: Sergio Aguero

Pretty much the only reason we restricted this to sales since 2010 is to make our choice of strikers much easier. Fernando Torres, Christian Vieri, Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink were all in the running pre-2010, and we’ve still had to leave out Diego Forlan, Radamel Falcao, Jackson Martinez, Raul Jimenez, Mario Mandzukic and David Villa.

It can’t not be Aguero though, can it?

ST: Diego Costa

His second spell may not have proven as productive as his first as yet, but it just feels right having Diego Costa back in his spiritual home, even if we do miss him dearly.

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