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08-Jun-2020, 08:45 am

Atletico Madrid can win the Champions League this season, claims president

Alvaro Morata Atletico Madrid 2019-20

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo believes his "very special" team can win the Champions League without fans.

Atletico dethroned titleholders Liverpool in the last 16 before the Champions League was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic in March.

The Champions League could resume in August, with the Bundesliga back underway as La Liga, the Premier League and Serie A prepare to return this month.

Atletico lost two Champions League finals under Diego Simeone in 2014 and 2016, but Cerezo told Movistar: "We are very special, we can win a Champions League without an audience. It could be our year."

La Liga will restart with a Seville derby between Sevilla and Real Betis on June 11 following the Covid-19 crisis. Atletico, meanwhile, will travel to Athletic Club behind closed doors on June 14.

Simeone's men are sixth in the table with 11 matches remaining, a point behind Real Sociedad and the final Champions League qualification spot.

"In the league we are in a difficult situation and in Champions we are very good," Cerezo said. "A few games away from reaching a final, which is where we like to be."

"He [head coach Simeone] is calm and has confidence in what he does and will direct us to get into the top four," added Cerezo.

The coronavirus pandemic is set to impact the transfer market as clubs feel the financial effects of the crisis.

Atletico spent heavily at the start of the season after Antoine Griezmann joined Barcelona, breaking a club record to sign Joao Felix, while Marcos Llorente, Hector Herrera, Felipe, Renan Lodi, Mario Hermoso and Kieran Trippier also arrived.

Looking ahead to 2020-21, Cerezo said: "There is a possibility that nobody will be signed, but we will have to wait for what happens in the season. The transfers will be very difficult for everyone."

Star Atletico midfielder Saul Niguez has recently been in the headlines with the Spaniard reportedly being hunted by Manchester United.

The Red Devils have been strongly linked with the midfielder, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still in the market for more ball-playing options despite adding Bruno Fernandes to his ranks and seeing Paul Pogba return to fitness.

They will not be the only ones in the mix, though, if a scramble is sparked for a prized signature, with Saul's agent Jonathan Barnett admitting as much to Sport Witness.

He said: "Somebody like Saul doesn't need anybody to push him. He's so good and everybody knows that and they know a lot of clubs want him. But he's already at a very big club. He has a very good relationship with Atletico Madrid and Atletico fans.

"Every good player is linked with another club. Some agents may want to do that and if they need the press to do something, then they are not very good at their job. It's journalists trying to write things. It may be true or may not be true, but it's something we as an agency at Stellar don't really get involved in."

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