Club Atlético de Madrid have made two more quality acquisitions ahead of their return to the Primera División after clinching the loan signings of Milan AC duo Demetrio Albertini and José Mari Romero for next season.
Italian international Albertini, who missed the FIFA World Cup with an achilles tendon injury, and former Atlético striker José Mari, 24, join former Milan team-mate Javier Romero at the Vicente Calderón stadium. The Segunda División champions have also bought RC Deportivo La Coruña's Emerson for €6.5m, FC Barcelona defender Sergi Barjuán, Argentinian international Fabrizio Coloccini from Deportivo Alavés and defender Pinola.
Option to buy
The double deal will see Albertini and José Mari spend 12 months in Spain but Atlético will then have an option to purchase José Mari, who they sold to the Rossoneri for €18m in 2000, for €15m. The 30-year-old Albertini is one of the most decorated players in Europe, having been a constant presence in the Milan midfield for over a decade.
Champions League winner
After debuting as a 17-year-old in 1989, Albertini, nicknamed the 'Metronome', went on to win five Italian Serie A titles and the UEFA Champions League with Milan. A product of the club's youth system, his only other colours have been those of Calcio Padova 1910, with whom he spent a season on loan in 1990. He has a habit of bouncing back when others have written him off, the most notable example being Milan's Scudetto triumph of 1999, and will be determined to do so again in the Spanish capital.
Adriano Galliani, Milan's vice-president, said of Albertini's departure: "The decision was made in common agreement with the player. I would not talk about a definite goodbye as Demetrio still has three years of his contract to run with us." Albertini's agent, Giovanni Branchini, added: "The deal has been concluded in great harmony. It has been negotiated for a long time and this confirms the interest shown by Atlético Madrid right from the beginning."
Meanwhile, Jean Pierre Meersseman, Milan's medical officer, has confirmed that midfield player Redondo, who has not kicked a ball for the San Siro outfit since joining them from Real Madrid CF, may have to undergo yet more surgery on his right knee ligament.
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