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Kieran Trippier makes Atletico Madrid debut, praises MLS

Trippier, who recently joined Atletico from Tottenham, praised MLS ahead of the 2019 All-Star game.

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ARLINGTON, Tx. —  Kieran Trippier is getting acclimated to a new team in the preseason, but is preparing to face a somewhat familiar foe next week when Atletico Madrid face the MLS All-Stars at Exploria Stadium July 31.

After playing in the 2019 UEFA Champions final with Tottenham, Trippier began the next stage of his career at Atletico Madrid against Chivas de Guadalajara in the International Champions Cup, a match won by the La Liga squad 5-4 on penalty kicks after a scoreless draw. 

Trippier’s transfer was announced July 17 in a deal worth around $25 million from the fourth-place finishers in England. Trippier, 28, made 114 appearances for Spurs, playing a key role as a fullback and wingback. An England international, Trippier made the rare move abroad and is acclimating to life in Spain with Atletico Madrid and coach Diego Simone.

“All the lads made me feel so welcome straight away,” Trippier said. “That’s important as a player coming in abroad to play. Sometimes, it can be very difficult but I’ve played against some of the players here in the Premier League and [Alvaro] Morata, [Diego] Costa, they’ve made me feel so welcome and some of them tried to speak English with me and I give back by trying to speak a bit of Spanish. I’m very excited to be here. Unbelievable team, unbelievable coach, and I’m just ready to learn of the coach.”

Trippier is on the roster for Atletico Madrid’s match against the MLS All-Stars, who he played once before, in 2015, when the All-Stars met Tottenham at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Colorado. The All-Stars won 2-1 off goals from Kaka and David Villa early in the first half. Trippier came on as a substitute at halftime for the match during his first season with Spurs.

“MLS, in the footballing sense, is on the rise,” Trippier said. “It’s getting better every year. It’s good to see.”

Trippier’s Atletico debut was met with a difficult circumstance, even for a preseason affair. Midfielder Marcus Llorente was sent off in the 24th minute, forcing Atletico to change shape early on. However, the team did not lose a beat and played like it was even, creating attacks and making Chivas feel uncomfortable in moments.

“It’s difficult,” Trippier said. “The team here is strong mentally and obviously you will sometimes go down to 10 men. I thought we reacted well. The mentality of the team was unbelievable. We still tried to win the ball back quickly and we tried to create as much as we could.”

Atletico Madrid will next meet rival Real Madrid July 26 at MetLife Stadium. For Trippier, he will continue to adjust to life with his new team, including the language barrier and style of play in La Liga. It’s different for an English player to try his mettle outside of the country, but Trippier is eager for the challenge.

“As soon as I came here, my first training session all my teammates made me feel so welcome, and that’s important as a player,” Trippier said. “I feel like I’ve been here for years because it’s so good to be here. Everyone from the coaching staff to the players have opened their arms. I’m delighted to be here and be the best as I can.”

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