Ivo Grbic has described his move to Ligue 1 Uber Eats champions Lille as "a big opportunity" with the Croatian goalkeeper seeking to step out of the shadow of Jan Oblak and make a name for himself in one of Europe's top five leagues.
Grbic, 25, joined Atletico from Lokomotiva Zagreb last summer, but made just one first-team appearance for the La Liga with fellow Balkan custodian Oblak backstopping Diego Simeone's men to the Spanish title.
Ahead of the start of his one-year loan at Lille with Saturday's trip to Saint-Etienne, Grbic told LOSC TV how much he's looking forward to life in northern France.
"It's a big opportunity for me. I'd like to thank everyone here for the welcome. I'll give everything on the pitch. I don't like to speak a lot, I like to speak on the pitch," explained the Croatia U21 international. "I'm really looking forward to meeting my teammates. I want to help the team and celebrate lots of victories with the fans."
In Saint-Etienne, Grbic is likely to step in between the posts for Leo Jardim, the Brazilian who performed well but still conceded four times in last weekend's 4-0 defeat to Nice. Lille fans will be hoping the rangy 1.95m (6'4") Grbic can shore up a defence that has looked fragile following the summer departure of Mike Maignan.
"I love working hard. I don't like to talk about myself. I'm a quiet, shy person, but once on the pitch, I talk a lot with the other players. I want to help them get the best results," said Grbic, who spoke to compatriot and Lille full-back Domagoj Bradaric before deciding on the move.
"When we were with the national team, he spoke a lot to me about Lille, the stadium, the fans, that they're champions of France, and I'm really happy to be here."