Kieran Trippier

Atletico Madrid
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Atletico Madrid relishes capacity to suffer after Anfield triumph

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Atletico Madrid forward Marcos Llorente sounded an alarm to the rest of the UEFA Champions League after his side flustered reigning champs Liverpool to advance to the quarterfinals.

“We don’t have any limits to how much we can go through and suffer,” Llorente said. “We defended with our lives and when we all pull in the same direction, these things can happen.”

[ MORE: Klopp, Milner react ]

Now, sure, Liverpool was dominant and a victim of its own poor finishing on the day, but Diego Simeone’s Atleti had earned its reputation as a stingy side well before Wednesday’s 3-2 extra-time win at Anfield.

“Atletico knew how to suffer, endure, and dethrone the current European champion,” Simeone said after the win, via Marca. “The Rojiblancos will be in the Champions League quarterfinals.”

That’s nothing new; Atleti has been to two UCL finals under Simeone, losing both to crosstown rivals Real Madrid. The manager led the club to two Europa League titles, too.

Simeone lauded goalkeeper Jan Oblak, who was sensational in a nine-save performance.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

“He is as important as the others, like Savic, Lodi, Felipe, Joao Félix,” he said. “But we have a goalkeeper who is the best in the world just as Barcelona has Messi.”

Wow. We get the point, but wow.

Former Spurs defender Kieran Trippier explained why Atleti is able to defend so resolutely in a televised interview on TBS after the win.

“The way we play is the way we train,” Trippier said. “[Simeone is] like this on the touchline in training. It’s a joy to learn from him every day and work with him. I knew I needed a change and when a club like Atletico Madrid come in for you, you can’t say no. I’m learning new things every day.”

Spurs defender Kieran Trippier officially joins Atletico Madrid

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A transfer that only became legitimately rumored one day ago has come to fruition as Tottenham right-back Kieran Trippier completed a move to Atletico Madrid, the two clubs confirmed.

The move is for a reported transfer fee of about $25 million plus add-ons and sees Trippier become Atletico Madrid’s first English player in over 90 years.

The 28-year-old signed a team-friendly three-year deal with Atleti, keeping him tied to the Spanish side through the summere of 2022. Trippier will hope to replace the retired Juanfran, and will no doubt benefit from the coaching of Diego Simeone, but it will be interesting to see a player with some defensive deficiencies look to earn a place in the starting lineup of such a defensively stout team.

Trippier leaves Tottenham after a four-year spell where he made 114 appearances for the club across all competitions after joining from Burnley in 2015. However, he began to lose his consistent starting place at Spurs over the past year after a dip in form this past season. While he started the Champions League final, Juan Foyth began to take Trippier’s place as the third center-back in Mauricio Pochettino‘s three-at-the-back system, and both Serge Aurier and Kyle Walker-Peters began to challenge for the traditional right-back role.

There is a lot of risk for the England international in this move. With such a short contract, he could be shopped by Atletico Madrid if he does not lock down a first-team place in his first year, with clubs often looking to cash in on players with two years left on their deal before market value dips. He also will need playing time to earn his place on the England national team, having played a starting role for the country at the 2018 World Cup but with plenty of competition at his place. Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kyle Walker, and the versatile Joe Gomez all made the England squad over Trippier for the recent Nations League semifinals and finals.

Reports: Kieran Trippier flies to Spain for Atletico Madrid medical

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According to a host of reports across England including Sky Sports, The Telegraph, and The Guardian, Tottenham defender Kieran Trippier is flying to Spain for a medical ahead of a move to Atletico Madrid.

This transfer has expedited extremely rapidly over the last 12 to 24 hours, with nearly all reports connecting the two parties coming out today.

According to the reports, a base fee of $25 million has been agreed upon with add-ons on top of that, as Atletico Madrid looks to replace the retiring Juanfran. The medical seems to be a preemptive measure, with work seemingly still to do on the transfer, as Sky says the deal could be completed “by the weekend.”

Trippier, a 28-year-old England international who started for his country at the World Cup last summer, has three years left on his Tottenham contract. Trippier’s emergence saw him mentioned alongside the best right-backs in the league, but at times last season defensive flaws were exposed despite the club’s title chase and run to the Champions League final. Towards the end of last season, young Juan Foyth at times was preferred in the back-three.

All the reports state that Trippier is not expected to travel with the team to Singapore on Wednesday for the club’s preseason tour.

Tottenham still has Serge Aurier and Kyle Walker-Peters to take over at Trippier’s right-back position, but there would be some work needed in that regard. Trippier was molded from a natural right-back into a center-back option as part of a back-three both at the club and international level, and it doesn’t seem like the two remaining options would be able to fit that role. Aurier is a marauding wing-back with more attacking ability than defensive, while Walker-Peters is a 22-year-old who can dribble but has shown inconsistent defensive abilities and at this point struggles in the air and crossing.

Instead, should Pochettino stay with a three-CB formation, Foyth would likely start over either those two at the back given his versatility and sharp rise through both the club and international ranks. Foyth impressed enough this summer at the Copa America that he could even get looks at center-back or right-back in a traditional defensive setup.

Trippier, on transfer rumors: ‘I want to stay, but what can you do?’

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The 2018-19 season was nothing short of a stomach-churning roller-coaster ride for Kieran Trippier, beginning with last summer’s 2018 World Cup and wrapping up with Tottenham Hotspur’s defeat in the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday.

[ WOMEN’S WORLD CUP PREVIEW: Groups A, B and C | Groups D, E and F ]

Now the busiest 12 months of his career are in the rearview mirror and a lengthy summer vacation is on the horizon, but Trippier also has a massive decision to make — or, as he sees it, a decision that will all but be made for him — regarding his future with Tottenham, and the Premier League.

Transfer rumors linking the 28-year-old right back with a move to Napoli have been coming up since early in 2019. Now, Juventus and Atletico Madrid are also reportedly hot on the trail. One would assume Trippier would benefit from having a handful of options before him, but it sounds as though he isn’t exactly thrilled by the idea of moving abroad, at least not without having much say in the matter himself — quotes from the BBC:

“I want to stay in England but what can you do? I’ll see what happens and what the club wants, most importantly.”

“I go home now, spend time with my family, just recover after a long, difficult season. Everybody’s got a decision to make.

“Obviously this club has been very good for me over the last few years but I’ll enjoy my summer, come back in preseason and that’s when I’ll sit down with the manager and have a talk about my future.

“I see a lot of speculation about me not being here. I give everything, 100 percent every game — win, lose or draw. So we’ll see what happens in preseason.

First things first, selling Trippier would require to Spurs to acquire the short- and long-term replacement to his position. Given that the club hasn’t signed a single player for two straight transfer windows, that might be easier said than done.

Secondly, if goal was to maximize Trippier’s value as an outgoing transfer, Spurs missed the boat on doing so 12 months ago. While he was generally seen to have put forth a strong showing at the World Cup, Trippier’s 38 appearances (all competitions) for Spurs this season were anything but stellar.

[ U-20 WORLD CUP: Ukraine, Ecuador, Senegal advance to QF (video) ]

Part of that is down to the fact that Serge Aurier, the only other right back that Mauricio Pochettino trusted to play meaningful minutes, spent much of the season injured, thus Trippier was handed an unmanageable workload which saw his fitness and sharpness wane as the season wore on.

A parting of ways seems not only the ideal outcome for Spurs, who require an upgrade at the position to build upon this season’s achievements, but also for Trippier, who will only be made an easy scapegoat as long as he remains at the club.

Three key battles in the Champions League Final

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There are only two differences in the Liverpool lineups that beat Spurs 2-1 home and away this season.

Naby Keita and Joe Gomez started the September tilt at Wembley Stadium, while Jordan Henderson and Joel Matip started at Anfield.

[ MORE: Champions League story lines ]

Spurs on the other hand played a back four at Wembley with three center backs in the reverse fixture, wing backs Danny Rose and Kieran Trippier pushed up high and wide.

Might we see the latter again in Madrid? One of those pieces begins this examination of the three (plus one) factors in Saturday’s Champions League Final.

Kieran Trippier versus Sadio Mane

Mane scored 22 goals this season, but failed to manage one against Spurs whether Trippier was lined up at right back or as more of a right wing back.

All-in-all, the dangerous-crossing Trippier is a better defender than his reputation suggests, but Mane is about as explosive an attacking talent as there is in England.

This battle may be the one that settles the tie.

Roberto Firmino versus Toby Alderweireld

Sure, this also could read Firmino v. Spurs’ defense, but “Bobby’s” two goals against Spurs this season were his first in six matches against the Reds.

Like Harry Kane for Spurs, Firmino is coming off an injury. While still quite good, the Brazilian center forward’s production and effectiveness have both dipped this season.

Perhaps it’s absurd to expect him to be a wrecking ball in consecutive Champions League seasons, but his dip in that competition was especially significant. Firmino arguably was the number one reason Liverpool ran through its forgiving slate last season, scoring 10 goals with 7 assists and drawing a penalty. This year, it’s just four goals with a helper.

Alderweireld, meanwhile, has been fine but not spectacular for Spurs. The big Belgian will hope Firmino is less than 100 percent.

Jurgen Klopp versus himself

There are few men in the world with the self-confidence of Jurgen Klopp, but the Reds’ boss enters his latest final holding the proverbial clipboard for the unabashed favorites.

When a man has lost his last three European finals, there’s reason to question how he may try to out-fox himself in the role of favorite. It’s also worth noting that the virtue of getting to a fourth European final says a lot about a managerial skill set.

Where Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is very much playing with house money, Klopp has yet to lift a piece of silverware as Liverpool boss. Perception of him is unlikely to change too much with a loss, but a win would have him an Anfield all-timer.

The stage can do wild things to a man, even when that man has spent plenty of time on that stage.

BONUS: Harry Kane versus his ankle

Yeah, this is cheating, but the Englishman’s fitness is the X-factor of the UCL Final. Virgil Van Dijk has the goods to deal with a fully fit Kane, but if he’s simply tasked with managing a half-ready decoy? Well, that’s big stuff.

Still, Kane’s 1-4-4 record against Spurs doesn’t have a ton to do with his scoring record, as he’s managed five goals and two assists in those matches. If he’s ready to go, Spurs obviously have a much better chance at glory.