Martin Skrtel has left Turkey to join Atalanta in Italy in a surprising move.
Former Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel has joined Serie A side Atalanta on a free transfer.
The former Liverpool defender flew into Bergamo for his medical yesterday and subsequently signed a one-year contract for a fee reportedly worth around €1 million.
He spent the last three seasons with Fenerbahce in Turkey and brings important experience to Atalanta, who will play UEFA Champions League football for the first time in their history this season.
The former Slovak international is best known for his spell at Liverpool, making over 300 appearances for the Reds from 2008 to 2016. He was the captain of Slovakia for many years, but announced his international retirement this February.
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“I’m happy to be here obviously and I’m proud to be part of this football club and I’m looking forward to starting with the team on the pitch,” Skrtel told the official Atalanta website.
“I’ve been here all day today and I can feel this club is very organised with nice and kind people, so I’m happy to be here. I know that Atalanta finished third in the league last year and will be part of the Champions League this season. That will be great for the team.
“For a player, the Champions League is the top competition and every player dreams about the Champions League, especially when you are a kid, as it’s always something special.
“I played in the Champions League with Liverpool and I’m happy that I can be part of the tournament again with Atalanta. I’m looking forward to it, but also to my Serie A debut, as it’s something new and I can’t wait to be on the pitch.
The 34-year-old experienced defender has chosen to wear the same number on the back of his jersey he used to wear for this former sides in England and Turkey, number 37.