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Matheus Cunha insists the chance to play at the “highest level in the world” alongside Luis Suarez was the reason he chose Atletico Madrid over Everton or Leeds United, speaking to Mundo Deportivo. 

If you had doubts over whether Cunha had the work ethic and selfless streak required to thrive under Marcelo Bielsa at Elland Road, we’d imagine you were left speechless when news broke that the Hertha Berlin star was heading to the Spanish capital instead. 

Diego Simeone is one of the few coaches in European football who would make the demanding, uncompromising Bielsa look like Kevin Keegan. 

Everton’s 2013-14 5th Place XI: Where Are They Now?

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Cunha was criticised on a number of occasions during his time at Hertha Berlin for an apparent reluctance to do the dirty work and pull his weight when out of possession.

And if the Olympic gold medallist thinks Simeone is going to bend to his whims and sacrifice the will of the collective for one individual, he has another think coming.  

Has Matheus Cunha made a mistake in joining Atletico rather than Everton or Leeds?

According to Sky, Everton failed with an eleventh-hour attempt to hijack Cunha’s £25 million move to the reigning La Liga champions.

Leeds were also interested, having held talks with the 2019 Bundesliga goal of the year winner in June (UOL). 

Photo by Rubén de la Fuente Pérez/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Once Atletico became involved, however, there was only one club Cunha wanted to join.

The question now is whether this mercurial talent will thrive like Antoine Griezmann or flop like Alessio Cerci, Jackson Martinez and Luciano Vietto. 

“I opted for Atletico Madrid because every player wants to be at the highest level in world football, play in the best competitions and compete against the best players,” says Cunha, who has been compared to Inter Milan and Barcelona legend Samuel Eto’o despite a less-than-prolific goalscoring record. 

“I think Atletico gives me that – I will be at the highest level, playing with the best players in the world, and that includes Luis Suarez. 

“The most important thing is to learn as much as possible at Atletico because all that learning helps me to stay in the national team.” 

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