This season marks the introduction of a new generation of Atletico Madrid, with the departure of three legendary defenders from the domestic title-winning side in 2013/14, as well as top-class players like Antoine Griezmann and Rodri Hernandez. The whole team had to be rebuilt, and a quality centre-back was chosen to replace captain Diego Godin. His name is Mario Hermoso, a youth product of Atleti’s city rivals Real Madrid.
Hermoso spent 10 years in Real Madrid’s youth system. Then from 2014 to 2017, he played for the team’s reserve side, with one year loaned to Valladolid. Unable to compete for a spot in the main team with the likes of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, Hermoso was moved to Espanyol. He gradually became one of the top centre-backs in La Liga, with rumours circulating interest from big clubs such as Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid(!). However, Atletico Madrid was the side to actually snatch him this summer.
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