With the international break underway, footballers have a relaxed schedule giving them time to do interviews and discuss about various things football.
Atletico Madrid striker Alvaro Morata appeared on Cadena SER’s El Larguero recently where he discussed several topics including his future at the club and the failed transfer to Barcelona during the January transfer window, apart from various other subjects.
The ex-Real Madrid striker was strongly linked with a transfer to Barcelona in January earlier this year, even though he was on loan at Juventus at the time. And Morata has confirmed that he did hold talks with the Catalans’ manager, Xavi, but the Bianconeri blocked the move.
“There was interest from Barça, yes, Xavi called me, I spoke to him. We talked about football, a little of everything and the truth is that it is to be appreciated, that a coach and a former player like Xavi takes you into account, it makes one feel good,” Morata said.
“In the end last winter I had 4 -5 very very good options, but Allegri told me no. He wanted me to accompany Vlahovic,“ the striker added.
Morata also talked about his Atletico Madrid teammate Antoine Griezmann and his difficult game-time situation at the club, saying:
“He is admirable. Always smiling. And it must be difficult to always be with a smile, helping, and that is not always seen. It is something to be proud of.”
“I would take it worse… he is generous on his part in the face of a team that does not show it. I don’t know how he really is, but you see him train and you see him committed and motivated. He is an example for the other players,” Morata further added.
There had been speculations that Morata’s relationship with manager Diego Simeone had been strained. Responding to those rumours, the striker said:
“I have never had a problem with Simeone, in fact, sometimes we joke. My relationship with him is phenomenal. He’s my boss and it’s a relationship of respect. The rumours of a bad relationship are things that I don’t know where they came from.”
Morata also had a few words to say about the recent unsavoury incidents at the Civitas Metropolitano involving the racist abuse against Real Madrid superstar Vinicius Jr this past weekend.
“It is unacceptable that episodes like this happen, that a 21-year-old boy has to listen to all the things he has to listen to on a football field. That is unacceptable. It should not be allowed and unfortunately, it happens,” he said.
When asked if he wishes to end his career at Atletico, Morata said: “Well, whatever I say… meme! (laughs) the truth is that yes, I am at home and I would love to win titles here.”
Atletico Madrid midfielder on the derby against Real Madrid: “Very difficult to beat them”
Following a 1-1 draw in their Champions League opener against Lazio, Atletico Madrid will shift all their attention to La Liga, as they brace themselves for the derby against Real Madrid this weekend.
Heading into this game, Atleti midfielder Marcos Llorente spoke about Real Madrid’s quality and Atletico Madrid’s chances of squeezing all three points from this iconic derby.
Llorente on Madrid derby
“The sensations are good. The team is very good, the other day we played a great game despite ending up drawing. I really think that the team did a great job that must be maintained for this match,” Llorente said in an interview with Diario AS.
When asked whether or not Real Madrid being tagged as favourites could aid Atleti, the midfielder said, “Honestly, it neither motivates me nor demotivates me. We simply have to do what we work on during the week, what the coach asks of us.”
Llorente stressed the importance of the game, adding, “It is a great rival we have in front of us, they are having a very good start to the season and that motivates me and everyone to try to play a good game.”
“Real Madrid is a great club, they have great players and it is very difficult to beat them. I think we have competed, we have also achieved several draws, but in the end, either you go out one hundred percent and do things very, very well or it is difficult to beat them,” he added.
A former member of the Real Madrid youth academy, Llorente joined Atletico Madrid in 2019. Since then, he has racked up over 150 competitive appearances for Los Colchoneros.
Llorente, though, said he feels no sense of vindication when he performs well against his former team.
“No. In the end, it’s been many years since I left there and I’m at Atlético. Perhaps in the first years, those types of feelings and sensations can arise, but today they no longer do,” he said.
Llorente on Vinicius, Koke & Bellingham
The Atletico Madrid star went on to talk about other aspects of the game, including the fact that his team had one less player every time they faced Real Madrid last season.
“I have zero worries. These are things that are not in our remit, that escape our hands. We play football, the referees referee and those who have to decide decide,” he said.
Llorente, in fact, said that the return of Koke could be a real boost for Atleti. “It is always good that Koke is with us, both on the field and in the day-to-day life of the game,” he said.
“Beyond the grass. The support he gives, the advice he gives us, his experience. it is always important to have him and it is great news that he is already training with us,” he added.
Talking about the absence of Vinicius Junior and the form of Jude Bellingham, Llorente said, “Well, you have to be careful with everyone. All Real Madrid players are very good and can make a difference at any moment of the game. Bellingham is having a great start and we have to take that into account and be very focused.”
Finally, Marcos Llorente put out a message for all the Atletico Madrid fans, claiming their support ahead of this crucial encounter this weekend.
“It will be a full house as always. We don’t have to tell them anything, they know the importance of this match for Atlético, we know that they never fail, they are always supporting us and we count on them,” he said.