MADRID.- Atletico Madrid’s captian Diego Godin on Tuesday announced he will leave the Spanish club by the end of the season.
With just two matches remaining in the La Liga season, an emotional Godin made the announcement during a press conference at the Wanda Metropolitano’s press room.
«I’m one more fan (of Atletico) because of the respect of the fans and the love they have shown me over these years,» he said.
«For me, this is not just a club, it is a family, a way of living.
«It has been home and it is difficult to bid farewell to your home.»
«I am here to show gratitude and remember all these good years we have had,» the Uruguayan international added.
Although he has been linked to a move to Italy’s Inter Milan, the 33-year-old defender did not clarify what his upcoming destination will be.
«I’m a little nervous, much more than in any game,» Godin said.
«As you can imagine, I have called you all because these are my last days (at the club), my last two matches with Atletico Madrid.
«I wanted to tell you myself so that you hear it from my mouth.»
He expressed his gratitude to his teammates, coaching staff and parents, and said they were all part of his personal values and how he tried to comport himself as a professional over his career.
Godin was accompanied by many of the first team and the entire coaching staff led by Argentinian head coach Diego Pablo Simeone and club president Enrique Cerezo, as well as some of the club’s legends including Adelardo Rodriguez, and Luiz Pereira of Brazil.
Cerezo described Godin as «an extraordinary player» and thanked the team captain for doing his best during the years in which Godin wore Atletico’s jersey.
«Nobody is better than you as an example for the youth of what it is to use all the courage in your heart.
«You have been a key player in the best phase of our club, with your achievements like the goal (you scored) in the Nou Camp that gave us a League (2013-14 season),» the president said.
Cerezo also added that Godin is to receive recognition from Atletico fans during the last home match in the domestic league against Sevilla at Wanda stadium on Sunday.
The final La Liga encounter for Atletico will be at Levante’s home-pitch on May 19.
The club also played a video, showing Godin’s best moments in his nine-year spell at Atletico.
Godin, who joined the club in August 2010 said that the decision to leave was made after he and the management could not reach an agreement for renewal.
«I am the captain of this team, I have been there for many years,» he added.
«We had a thousand conversations, meetings with the club.
«It is clear that in the end that we could not reach an agreement and that is it.»
He continued: «For me, it is the end of a stage, an era, the most beautiful era of my sports career and of my life.»
He said that he does not regret his previous decision to stay at the side even when he had other offers, and was proud of being an Atletico player during his years with the side.
He added that he has a lot of respect for the team despite his pain and sadness on having to leave.
Godin, who started his career in the 2002-2003 season, played for various clubs in Uruguay, including Club Atletico Cerro and Club Nacional, moving to La Liga’s Villarreal CF in 2007 where he stayed until he joined Atletico.
He became the non-Spanish player with the most appearances at Atletico with a total of 387 matches, and two still remaining, and the tenth player overall with the most matches in the history of the club.
Godin won a total of eight honors during his spell at the club, including; the Copa de Rey, Spanish Super Cup, two UEFA Europa League titles and three UEFA Super Cup trophies.
Finally and most importantly Godin and Atletico won the La Liga title in 2014.