Despite an up and down World Cup showing, Colombian winger Santiago Arias is taking a step up the club ladder. After starting at right-back all four games for Colombia during its run to the knockout stage in the World Cup, Arias is being rewarded with a club promotion from PSV Eindhoven in Holland to current Europa League champion Atlético Madrid.
The 26-year-old Arias leaves the Dutch side after making 172 appearances, scoring six total goals, and winning the Dutch league’s “Player of the Year” Award this past season. He will now join Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid, which is looking to win its first Spanish league title since 2014 and get back to the Champions League final after a two-year absence.
Arias signed a five-year deal with the club on Tuesday. A spot at right-back is immediately available after Croatia’s Sime Vrsaljko, coming off a brilliant string of World Cup performances, left Madrid for Inter Milan on loan on Tuesday as well. However, the signing of former Monaco man Djibril Sidibe will provide stiff competition for Arias at his full-back spot.
Arias has now played in four major tournaments for Colombia – two World Cups and two Copa Américas – as he has logged 45 caps for Los Cafeteros.
According to Marca, he is the seventh Colombian player to ever sign with Atlético. When donning the red and white in Spain’s capital, it was current Colombian captain Radamel Falcao who had is best years as a footballer there as he scored 70 goals in three seasons. Atlético fans will be hoping that Arias’ success will more closely mirror that of Falcao’s as opposed to the bitter tenure of Colombian Jackson Martínez, who disappointed in his time under Simeone.
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) July 31, 2018