Kieran Trippier Becomes Atletico Madrid's Unlikely Icon - Season Highlights

By Stephen Jones
Atletico Madrid v Villarreal - La Liga Santander
Atletico Madrid v Villarreal - La Liga Santander / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Kieran Trippier's transfer to Atletico Madrid last summer was a move that seemed to make no sense. It was the type of deal you'd expect to see on FIFA or Football Manager, yet the deal was completed almost as quickly as the Spanish club's interest had come to light.

During his final few months at Tottenham it was evident the England international needed a new club and everybody thought the right back would find another home in the Premier League, but Atletico were intent on bringing the defender to Spain and paid Tottenham £20m to secure his services in July 2019, making Trippier the club's first English player in 95 years.

Nearly a year on from his move and the right back has put in some dazzling performances, the 29-year-old becoming Atletico's unlikely icon in an otherwise disappointing season thus far.

The move didn't seem like a typical Atletico transfer, and Trippier is far from a standard Atletico defender. Atleti have always based themselves on their strong defence, and the addition of Trippier seemed a little distant from that philosophy.

It was never a question of the Englishman's footballing ability, as he had always shown he is a decent defender who can cope with pressure. But Trippier paled in comparison to Juanfran - the Spaniard who held down their right back spot for nine seasons prior to the former Burnley defender's move - and it seemed like Atletico were receding and not building for the future.

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Parabéns, mate! ? @renan_lodi

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The switch to La Liga came as surprise to many, but Trippier's performances this season for Atletico have shown why bringing him to the club was the correct decision from manager Diego Simeone.

Only a few British players have previously flown the safe nest that is the Premier League to fulfil their grander aspirations, but Trippier is flying the flag and could be the player to end the stigma around the UK's footballing exports.

Trippier's debut came on the opening day of the season against Getafe. The 29-year-old played outstandingly and didn't look phased for one moment, keeping a level head and providing a match-winning assist as Atletico won 1-0.

Atletico Madrid vs Lokomotiv Moskva: Group D - UEFA Champions League
Atletico Madrid vs Lokomotiv Moskva: Group D - UEFA Champions League / Xaume Olleros/Getty Images

Trippier used this as a springboard for the season and has played 19 of his team's 27 league games so far. It would have been more if it wasn't for an injury he picked up in January that kept him sidelined for a month.

The Englishman's performances have helped Atleti to sixth place in the league - they are currently just two points away from third - but it's Trippier's European performances that have stood out this season, the most memorable being when Atletico knocked out Liverpool in the last 16 of the Champions League.

In the second leg, Atletico came under immense pressure for much of the game, but they kept their heads and Trippier played a key role both at the back and going forward.

Liverpool FC v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg
Liverpool FC v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg / Visionhaus/Getty Images

It looked like he had been Atletico's starting right-back for the last decade, playing with conviction and didn't miss a beat as his team knocked out the holders in a thrilling encounter.

The man from Bury is becoming an Atletico icon - if he continues to show this type of form, then the transfer from Tottenham will be an absolute steal for Atleti.