Raul Jimenez, the hero of the Mexico-Panama world cup qualification goal last year, has signed a six year deal with Spain’s Atletico de Madrid. After several days of speculation, and a courtship that also included Portugal’s O’ Porto FC, the 23 year-old Club America striker opted for the “colchoneros.”
“Ever since a child (8 years old) I idolized Hugo Sanchez. I wanted to follow his footsteps and I am happy because a dream I’ve had for a long time will come true,” Jimenez told ESPN Deportes.
Jimenez began his career with Club America and made his debut with the eagles in 2011 and made 96 appearances. In that time frame he scored 36 goals. In 2013 he made his first appearance with the Mexican national team and has played in 26 games scoring 4 goals in the process.
He won the Clausura 2013 tournament with Club America in La Liga MX. At the international level, Jimenez won the 2012 Toulon Tournament, and the 2012 Olympic gold medal at the London games.
Jimenez could make his debut with the team during the Spanish Supercopa on the 19 and 22 of August. After a long day moving about, Jimenez was able to touch the Atletico jersey.
“I had already signed a couple jerseys, a few souvenirs from my new team,” Jimenez said. “It feels good to have the jersey in my hands. I’m really excited, even though I don’t know what number I will wear.”
On Thursday, Jimenez reported to the club and passed the medical examinations. From there he traveled to Cadiz to meet up with his teammates and train. The colchoneros will be playing for the Carranza de Cadiz trophy prior to starting La Liga.
Atletico announced the signing less than 24 hours after they signed Diego Gama, youth prospect from Toluca FC. The 18 year-old will begin his career with Atletico “B.” Gama debuted with Toluca against Merida FC in a Copa MX game. On Aug. 10, 2014 he played against Leones Negros in a La Liga MX match. Two games totaling 61 minutes were enough for the colchoneros to give the youngster a one year trial.
Atletico de Madrid previously had Mexicans Luis Garcia and the legendary Hugo Sanchez in their ranks. Sanchez won a “pichichi” with the colchoneros in his second year with the team.