Saul Niguez signs nine-year deal with Atletico Madrid

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Saul Niguez has signed a nine-year deal at Atletico Madrid
Saul Niguez has signed a nine-year deal at Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid’s Spain midfielder Saul Niguez has signed a new contract that will tie him to the club for almost a further decade.

The 22-year-old joined the club’s academy in 2007 and was already under a long-term deal.

He has now signed a five-year extension that runs until 2026.

Saul was the leading scorer, with five goals, at the recent European Under-21 Championship in Poland, in which Spain reached the final, losing to Germany.

Saul made his senior debuts in the 2010–11 season, appearing with the Colchoneros’ reserves in the third division, and his first goal came in a 3–1 away win against Extremadura UD on 10 April 2011, his only of the campaign in an eventual midtable finish.

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In the summer of 2011, Saúl joined the Atlético main squad for pre-season training. On 10 July, he netted twice in a 19–1 friendly win with CD Arcángel.

On 8 March 2012, at the age of just 17 years and 108 days, Saúl made his official debut with Atleti’s first team, playing the last six minutes in a UEFA Europa League game against Beşiktaş JK (3–1 home win, 6–1 on aggregate).

His second appearance came on 20 September, again as a substitute and in the Europa League, against Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC; three days later he scored both goals for Atlético B, in a 2–1 away derby win over Real Madrid C.

Saúl made his La Liga debut on 21 April 2013, playing two minutes in a 1–0 success at Sevilla FC after replacing fellow youth graduate Koke.

Again from the bench, he appeared in his second league match with the main squad on 4 May, against Deportivo de La Coruña (0–0).

On 21 July 2013, Saúl signed with Rayo Vallecano in a season-long loan deal.

After returning, he featured in both legs of the 2014 Supercopa de España in which Atlético defeated Real Madrid, starting in the first match.

In a Madrid derby on 7 February 2015, Saúl replaced the injured Koke after ten minutes, and scored his team’s second goal shortly after through a bicycle kick, in an eventual 4–0 win.

From the 2015–16 season onwards, after the departure of Mario Suárez and the injury of Tiago Mendes, he became a nuclear midfield element for the Diego Simeone-led team.

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