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Saul Niguez says he is not leaving Atletico Madrid amid Barcelona links

Spain under-21 star Saul Niguez has closed the door on a move away from Atletico Madrid this summer.

El Mundo Deportivo reported that Barcelona would target Saul to bolster their midfield should they fail to sign Marco Verratti from Paris Saint-Germain.

But Saul, who scored a hat trick against Italy to fire Spain into the European Under-21 Championship final, told AS: "I have no intention of moving.

"I'm where I want to be and things are going to remain the same. They [Atletico] have put their trust in me since I was young, and I want to repay that confidence."

Atletico coach Diego Simeone gave Saul, a youth product, his first-team debut at the age of 17 in March 2012 and he made his first La Liga appearance 13 months later.

Saul Niguez has dazzled for Spin under-21s this summer.

He became a regular in the 2015-16 season, playing 45 games and scoring eight goals and signed a five-year contract in May 2016.

Marca reported that Atletico have no intention of selling Saul and are keen to extend his deal.

Saul has scored five goals and set up another in three starts at the European U21 Championship.

He posted a photograph on his Twitter account holding the ball from Tuesday's game and told Cuatro TV after the match: "This is my first hat trick and I'm going to look after this ball.

"I'm thrilled that we have achieved our aim, which was to reach the final. We have played a great game, worked hard together and that's what makes me happiest. We deserve to be champions."

Spain U21 coach Albert Celades told Marca: "He is doing a very good job.

"Besides his football qualities that we all know, the hunger that he has is tremendous and it's a gift for us to have players like him."

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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