Saúl: "I asked to train in my position; El Cholo and Miguel Ángel felt it would be better if I left"
Saúl hooked up with Ibai Llanos on his Twitch channel: "I need to rediscover myself. Going to London on my own, with limited English will be a challenge for me".
Saúl joined IbaiLlanos on his Twitch channel at 1:45 in the morning, not long after it was announced that he would be joining Chelsea on loan. The two chatted almost until 2:30 as Saúl explained the reasons why he decided to leave Atleti, adding that the deal came together on Tuesday and that he will wear the number 17 shirt at Stamford Bridge. "When I happy playing at Atlético, I wore the No.17. I was offered the chance to take that shirt number and I hope it bring me a lot of joy. I was with my team mate De Gea on the day of the fax incident. It's been a long day".
Reasons for leaving. "I don't know if I could have stood another season like last year or the one before that. I know that maybe I'd be happy for a few days or weeks at home. But I needed to rediscover myself and then the chance to join Chelsea, the European champions surfaced. Deciding to leave has been very difficult because I will be going on my own, without my wife and family and hardly knowing any English".
Kepa to help settling in. "It's very important that he's there. It's a big step for me. If he wasn't there, it might have been different. Spending a year out on loan and having a team mate who I have know for many years since we were together with the national team at youth level will be a great help".
Life in London with the current European champions
Objectives at Chelsea. "To go there and make the most of the experience. I don't want to think any further than that because I don't want to complicate things. The idea is to compete and rediscover myself. To see the Saúl that I want to see. The last two seasons have been frustrating for me. I wasn't able to show people what I am capable of. I wasn't learning, I wasn't improving and not being able to grow was frustrating. I think this decision can help me to get out of the rut I've been in".
Bad timing for Atlético. "It's tough leaving your boyhood club, your home. As a kid who came up through the youth system, giving everything out on the pitch but not feeling valued by the people I love was hard. I wanted to be the Atleti player with the most goals in the Champions League, but that would have been difficult when I wasn't playing in my position. Now that I have left my comfort zone, we will see a new Saúl emerge. That's what my dad said to me, I can play well or play badly, but no one can ever say that I don't give my all out on the pitch. Not being able to play as I did before was frustrating".
Tense moments during the transfer window. "As far as I was concerned, every option open to me during the summer was fine with me. Staying at Atleti or leaving to join Chelsea were both good options. If I had stayed at Atlético, even playing in different positions, wasn't a problem. If El Cholo as me to play at full-back, central defence or wherever, I would have done it. Even though at the start of the summer, the club was looking to sell me, I have played three games without thinking about whether I was staying or going. I was focused on Atlético. Today I am a Chelsea player and I am only thinking about giving the best I've got".
Uncertainty on deadline day. "That's how it was, right at the very last moment. With 57 minutes to go we had finished reading the contract, signed it and revised it. It was a bit like my old team mate De Gea a few years ago with the fax… It's not going through…It was a long day".
Deciding to leave. "First of all, there was talk about Barça, but I didn't receive a firm offer. During pre-season, every day there were questions about a possible swap deal with Griezmann. The media print a lot of things without worrying about the damage they cause. When Chelsea cropped up, I started seeing some of the things that were being mentioned. Last season I had a chat with the boss and Miguel Ángel; I asked if I could train in my position, even if I wasn't going to play. I wanted to find my place and change my situation, but after telling them that, they felt that it would be better for me to leave. I only asked to train in my natural position - at least that is how I saw it".