Matias Kranevitter says farewell to River Plate ahead of Atletico move

New Atletico Madrid midfielder Matias Kranevitter has thanked fans of his former club River Plate, saying his eight years there had taught him "how to be a person."

Kranevitter, 22, emerged as a key player for River and helped them win the Argentine title, Copa Sudamerica and a first Copa Libertadores in two decades.

The midfielder played his final game for his boyhood club in last weekend's Club World Cup final defeat to Barcelona, and completes an €8 million move to Atletico, agreed in the summer, next month.

Argentina international Kranevitter told River fans it would be "strange" to play for a different team after spending the whole of his career so far in Buenos Aires.

"Thanks for teaching me how to be a person, since I was a boy," he said. "I toast these eight years. It is going to be really strange, [but] thanks for your support."

Atletico coach Diego Simeone told El Pais his new signing might have to be patient and wait for his chance in the first team.

"I compare him to a young [Javier] Mascherano or Matias Almeida," former midfielder Simeone said.

"We do not know yet how he will be. He works hard to win the ball back and orders the play. He has many things to improve as he is young, and it is not easy to play in the centre of the field.

"It is like handing over your kid to someone you meet in the street -- you cannot just do it with anyone."