Axel Witsel, the 33-year-old Belgium midfielder signed a one-year contract with Atletico Madrid. He came into the transfer market as a free agent, as German side Borussia Dortmund failed to renew his contract.
He began his career at hometown club Standard Liège, making 183 appearances and scoring 42 goals while winning five domestic trophies. He was awarded the Belgian Golden Shoe in 2008. After a season in Portugal with Benfica, he signed for Zenit Saint Petersburg for a €40 million fee in 2012. Witsel won four honors during his time in Russia, before leaving for Tianjin Quanjian in January 2017. Witsel returned to Europe with Borussia Dortmund in August 2018.
Witsel made his senior international debut in 2008 and earned his 100th cap for Belgium on 15 November 2018. He represented the country at the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and 2018, and the UEFA European Championship in 2016 and 2020, helping them to third place in the 2018 tournament.