As the deal between River Plate and Atlético Madrid was completed back in August, the official presentation of Matías Kranevitter as an Atleti player this morning hardly feels like news but it is a bold step forward in the career of one of Argentina’s most promising young players.
Over the past 18 months River Plate have firmly established themselves back at the summit of South American football, lifting the Copa Sudamericana and the Copa Libertadores in the process. The jewel in Marcelo Gallardo’s side has undoubtedly been 22-year-old Matías Kranevitter and although an €8 million move to Atlético Madrid was agreed back in August, the combatitive midfielder remained at the Monumental until the end of the Argentine league season and the calendar year.
The culmination was River’s defeat to Barcelona at the Club World Cup in Japan and that signalled the end of Kranevitter’s career in Argentina and the beginning of a significant next step in his development.
— Atlético de Madrid (@Atleti) January 4, 2016
Handed the number 8 shirt for the remainder of the season, Kranevitter is immediately available to Diego Simone, who has been a firm admirer of El Colo since his emergence in the River youth system.
Speaking at his presentation, Kranevitter said: “I am very happy to be here at a club like this. I really wanted to come. It‘s taken a few months to be able to arrive, but I thank the people for their affection. The people live football here and I will give everything for this club and this t-shirt.
“It is something very nice, because he is a coach who has won things with the club. He is a winner.” He added, regarding working under fellow Argentine Diego Simeone. “It is a big challenge for me. One that I am going to work hard on every day.”
Needless to say after his impressive performances for River and the call-up to Gerardo Martino’s Argentina squad, there were other interested parties but Kranevitter explained his decision: “I saw that it was a good group, with a good coach and a group of winners. I immediately decided to join this club. It is a unique opportunity for me, one which I will take full advantage of.“
Kranevitter could make his Atlético Madrid debut against Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday in the Copa del Rey but with Simeone’s side currently sitting top of La Liga and the more experienced Augusto Fernández also arriving, it is unlikely that Colo will be rushed into action.
Fernández’s switch to the Vicente Calderón may well see the 29-year-old regain a place in the national side but Simeone looks to play a key role in the future development of La Albiceleste with Kranevitter joining Ángel Correa and Luciano Vietto in Madrid.