Barcelona paid Atletico Madrid €15 million to have the first refusal on Saul Niguez, Jose Gimenez and three other academy players, with sources from both clubs denying the payment has anything to do with the Antoine Griezmann deal.
Atletico Madrid has taken a huge advantage in their heavyweight Champions League last-16 tie with Juventus, earning a 2-0 home win thanks to late goals from Uruguayan defenders Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin.
Unbeaten in the league with only six points dropped and 13 points clear at the top, Juventus has been utterly dominant in the Serie A this season and seems all but certain to win an eighth successive title.
Following up Zinedine Zidane’s treble Champions League success with Real Madrid was always going to be a difficult job for Julen Lopetegui, but having to do it without Cristiano Ronaldo is a monumental challenge.
Real Madrid welcomes Atletico Madrid for the first leg of their Champions League semifinal on Tuesday hoping to do something that has been beyond the reigning 11-time European champion for six decades.
Atletico Madrid celebrated like it had won the trophy after reaching the Champions League quarterfinals by edging past PSV Eindhoven 8-7 on penalties on Tuesday following 210 goalless minutes in its last-16 tie.