Lucas Hernandez

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Niklas Sule tears ACL, will miss rest of season and likely Euros

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Bayern Munich defender Niklas Sule suffered an ACL tear that will cause him to miss the rest of the club season as well as Euro 2020, the club announced.

“Apparently, the season is over for him, he can forget about the Euros,” said Bayern club president Uli Hoeness.

Sule has become a critical player for both club and country over the past year. He had been on the pitch for every minute of Bayern’s league campaign until his injury in the 12th minute of the 2-2 draw with Augsburg, and Germany manager Joachim Low had tabbed Sule as a long-term solution at center-back after publicly moving on from Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng in the hopes of overhauling the national team squad.

Sule represents a massive loss for Germany, having started and played the full 90 minutes in each of the past 11 matches for the national side. He has been the lone constant in the national team defense while his center-back partnership is a rotating door of players such as Emre Can, Robin Koch, Mattias Ginter, Jonathan Tah, and Antonio Rudiger. It is unclear whether Low would re-consider his stance on Hummels and/or Boateng with his defensive situation thrown into disarray.

At the club level, Bayern has options to replace Sule but almost all of them represent a downgrade. Benjamin Pavard, who played full-back for the French national team during their 2018 World Cup run, has transitioned to center-back and seen significant playing time already this season. Lucas Hernandez is also a relative newcomer to the center-back role like Pavard, while Boateng could potentially find his way back into the starting lineup having made just four appearances so far this season.

Bayern confirm $90 million transfer for Atletico Madrid’s Hernandez

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After failing to sign some of their transfer targets last summer, Bayern Munich isn’t even waiting for the next transfer window to open to complete a big-money deal.

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FC Bayern announced on Wednesday that it had signed France World Cup winner and Atletico Madrid left back Lucas Hernandez on a $90 million transfer. Hernandez has signed a five-year contract that begins on July 1, 2019 and goes through the end of the 2023-2024 season.

Interestingly, Bayern was so set on Hernandez that it completed the deal despite a medical exam finding damage to Hernandez’s MCL in his right knee, which needs surgery. However, he’s expected to be ready for the start of the next season, though he’s likely to miss the rest of this campaign for Atletico.

“This is a really important day in my footballing career,” Hernandez said in a statement. “FC Bayern Munich is one of the best clubs in Europe and the world. I’m proud to be able to fight for all possible titles with Bayern. I’d like to thank Atletico, the management, the coaches, my teammates and the fans for 12 wonderful years. Atletico will always remain a part of me. Now I’m looking forward to taking the next step with FC Bayern.”

Born to a French father of Spanish descent, Hernandez has spent nearly all of his adult life in Madrid, and has been a part of Atletico Madrid either in the youth team or first team since 2007. Since making his first-team debut in 2014, Hernandez has played 67 times in La Liga, with additional appearances in the Copa Del Rey and both the UEFA Champions League and Europa League. Last year he truly broke into the Atleti squad and his defensive sturdiness helped him push into the France starting lineup, where he helped keep the backline steady as France let its pacey squad counter-attack at will during the 2018 World Cup.

Perhaps more important than his history is the significance of this move today. It’s a sign that Bayern Munich is willing to spend money, as it absolutely shattered the club’s previous transfer record of around $45 million for Javi Martinez, though that was way back in 2012. Bayern Munich has struggled mightily this season compared to its previous highs in the middle of this decade, and while it still could catch Borussia Dortmund and win the Bundesliga, it’s clear that a number of changes had to be made.

The signing of Hernandez also reunites him with international teammate Benjamin Pavard, who’s signing for this summer from Stuttgart was confirmed by Bayern in January. Plus, it raises the market for left backs and defenders around the world, with one transferring for as high a sum as $90 million.

Bayern has realized if it wants to be one of Europe’s top clubs again, it has to reach deep into its pockets to sign top players. Wednesday was the latest sign that it is willing to do so.

Report: Man Utd, Real after $93m World Cup winner Hernandez

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World Cup and Europa League champion Lucas Hernandez could be the next big ticket Manchester United defender if he doesn’t join his brother at Real Madrid.

France Football has the report, saying that the Atletico Madrid left (and center) back may have his $93 million release clause triggered by Jose Mourinho this winter, making it two Hernandez brothers purchased by European giants.

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Theo Hernandez, 20, won the Champions League with Real Madrid after being purchased from Atleti for around $28 million, a rare exception to Real’s history of not buying players from its intracity rival. Theo is on loan at Real Sociedad this season.

Lucas Hernandez has 12 caps for France and has made 90 appearances for Atleti at the age of 22. He’s less than a year older than resurgent United left back Luke Shaw.

His flexibility, age, and experience are the perfect fit for United (or Real, though new Real boss Julen Lopetegui’s loaning of Theo might make Lucas hesitant). It’s also worth noting that Lucas is the perfect fit to stay at the Wanda Metropolitano, and that Atleti’s left center back Diego Godin (32) and left back Filipe Luis (33) are both moving up in age.

A new deal for Lucas is likely to be headed his way at Atleti.

Atletico extends contract of defender Hernandez until 2022

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MADRID (AP) Atletico Madrid says it has extended the contract of young defender Lucas Hernandez until June 2022.

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The current contract of the 21-year-old Frenchman was going to end in 2020.

Hernandez has played 20 games for Atletico this season and is expected to start in Tuesday’s Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

He has played with Atletico’s youth squad since the 2007-08 season. He has also played for France’s youth teams.

Hernandez said Monday he was “thrilled” to remain “with the club of his life.”

Earlier this year Hernandez and his former girlfriend were sentenced to 31 days of community service for an altercation between the two.