Long-time Atletico Madrid captain Gabi has signed a new deal with the club. His new deal will see the 33-year-old captain stay at the club until June 2018. This can only be good news for fans, as a mainstay of the team will stick around and continue to offer the soul that Atletico Madrid stands for today.
As the club prepares to move into a new stadium in 2017, also, this holds great symbolic value; the current captain, a mainstay of the Simeone era, will stay until Atleti leave their home.
Seeing the captain of arguably the greatest Atletico era in history take the team to their new home holds immense emotional value for all.
The midfielder was due to see his contract end in the summer of 2017. Although never capped by his country (some would say quite harshly) he has been a major player for Simeone for many years.
Speaking after signing his new deal, Gabi spoke of his pride.
“It’s a great challenge to be able to be in the team when we move to the new stadium. A new and exciting stage starts for the club and being the captain of the first team in a moment that will go down in history is a source of pride for me,” Gabi said.
“I am very happy to continue one more year at home. I always say that playing with Atletico Madrid was my childhood dream, so I cannot ask for more than what I am living these years. I also want to thank the fans for their unconditional support both for me and for the team.”
In a period of large change for Atletico on and off the field, continuity in some sectors will be absolutely vital. As they maintain the services of a player who has provided the club and fans with immense satisfaction, this can only be a good thing.
Gabi has so far made 324 appearances for his boyhood club. He first played for the club after coming through the youth system. However, he moved on during a turbulent period for the club and signed for Spanish outfit Real Zaragoza.
After four years of consistently impressive service at the Aragon club, Gabi was brought home. He returned to Atletico in 2011 under the tutelage of Gregorio Manzano. Shortly after, however, Simeone arrived and transformed both Gabi and the team as a whole.
Since then, Gabi has helped the club lift domestic and European honours. He was part of the side that won the 2012 Europa League, and also took part in the 2013 Copa del Rey final where they amazingly beat rivals Real Madrid in the Final.
Gabi was a major player in the 13/14 title win, too. His steady performances from the middle of the park played a major role in the club achieving their aims for the season, and his new contract is just reward for five years of exemplary performances since his return to the Vicente Calderon.