New Atletico Madrid stadium to be named Wanda Metropolitano

Atletico Madrid's new stadium will be called Wanda Metropolitano after China's Wanda Group, shareholders in the Spanish giants, won naming rights, Atletico president Enrique Cerezo announced.

New Atletico Madrid stadium to be named Wanda Metropolitano

Wanda acquired a 20 percent stake in the Champions League finalists for €44.98 million ($48m) in April 2015, as Chinese firms and businessmen plough cash into some of European football's biggest clubs.

“I have the honour to officially announce that we have reached an agreement with the Wanda group for the name of our new stadium,” Cerezo said without releasing the financial details or length of the deal.

Atletico plan to move into the new ground on the northeast side of Madrid from next season after 50 years at the Vicente Calderon.    

Prior to moving to the Calderon, Atletico played in the Metropolitano stadium between 1923 and 1966.

Wanda, owned by China's richest man Wang Jianlin according to American magazine Forbes with an estimated personal fortune of $32.1 billion, has invested heavily in sport in recent years.

In March the conglomerate became FIFA's first major sponsor following the scandal that saw disgraced former president Sepp Blatter replaced by Gianni Infantino.

“We believe that this agreement can help the development and growth of Wanda Sports in Spain and Europe,” said Wang via video link from Beijing.    

“It strengthens the relationship between Wanda Group and Atletico Madrid.”    Wang also stated his hope that the Wanda Metropolitano will one day play host to the Champions League final.

As part of the initial agreement last year, Atletico agreed to set up a football academy in Spain for young Chinese players and tour China for a series of friendly matches.

“With the deal signed this morning in Beijing we build on our ties with a multi-national with which we have worked with for a number of years in the training and developing of young players,” added Cerezo.

“It is without doubt the best partner for a journey to keep working towards an even better future.”

Atletico are enjoying one of the most prolonged periods of success on the pitch in their history as they have reached the Champions League final in two of the last three seasons.   

The drive behind the boom in football investment at home and abroad by Chinese companies lies in President Xi Jinping's interest in football and China's hopes to one day host the World Cup.

“I have been told that the Wanda players are growing and improving rapidly,” said Wang.

“There are eight or nine that have the potential to play in European leagues,” added Wang.   

As part of the move, Atletico also revealed a slightly modified new badge which will don their shirts from next season.

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Godin says he’s going nowhere despite reports of English interest

Centre-back Diego Godin said on Tuesday he wanted to stay with Atletico Madrid "for personal reasons", but that he is yet to extend his contract which expires in 2019.

Godin says he's going nowhere despite reports of English interest
Godin greets supporters during celebrations for their Europa League victory at the Fountain of Neptune in Madrid on May 18th 2018.

The Uruguayan international had been linked with a move to Manchester United before the English transfer window closed on August 9th.

“I received offers, but decided to stay for personal reasons,” the 32-year-old Godin told Movistar+.

“I have not yet extended (my contract). I've seen a lot of things in the  press, but now, what's important is to wait and concentrate on the (UEFA Super Cup) final.”

Europa League winners Atletico take on city rivals and Champions League holders Real Madrid in the Super Cup in Tallinn on Wednesday before the start of the La Liga season this weekend.

Godin has played 350 matches for Atletico since joining from Villarreal eight years ago, winning the Spanish league title in 2014, the Europa League in 2012 and earlier this year, and the 2013 Copa del Rey.

The capital-city club has a policy of “only extending the contracts of players over the age of 30 on an annual basis”, according to Spanish sports daily AS.