Atletico Madrid have tied down midfielder Saul Niguez to a new long-term contract.
The 22-year-old has signed a nine-year extension which ties him to the Rojiblancos until June 30, 2026.
Saul, who was part of the Spain under-21 side that lost the Euro 2017 final to Germany on Friday, said on his club’s website: “I’m very happy because at Atleti we are a family and there is no better place to be.
“I will work as always to repay the trust the club has shown in me on the field. I want to thank all my teammates and the coaching staff for their help day by day to be able to be the player I am today.”
The highlyrated Saul had been linked with a move to some of Europe’s top clubs, with his stock rising further still during the European Under-21 Championship in Poland as he scored a stunning hat trick in the 3-1 semifinal win over Italy and finished as the tournament’s top scorer.
��⚪️�� @saulniguez extends his contract until 2026 ��
– Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) July 1, 2017
But Atletico have secured his services for a further nine years and represents another significant coup for the club, who have already this summer secured new deals with two of their other leading players in Antoine Griezmann and Koke.
Griezmann’s new deal runs until 2022 while Koke has pledged his future to Atletico until 2024.
The importance of tying down their star players became even more pressing for Atletico last month when they lost their appeal against a FIFA-imposed transfer ban, which means they will not be able to register any new players until January.
Atletico sporting director Jose Luis Perez Caminero said Saul — who has been at the club since he was 14 — is a role model for all the youngsters at the Spanish giants and believes he will only get better and better.
He said: “Saul is an example for all the kids in our Academy. An example of giving, teamwork, solitary on the field and an impressive quality.
“He is an all-around player, with great aerial power, an amazing long-range shot, a tireless worker, a young player with lots of experience… We should feel happy for the agreement we reached because he is such a great player and there are no limits to his growth.”