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Koke talks Messi, Diego Simeone, Luis Enrique, and 2022 World Cup

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Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Koke has been a solid pillar for Atletico Madrid this season, and his call-up to the Spanish National Team for the World Cup was no surprise. The current season has been a special one for the midfielder on a personal level, but not everything has been as rosy when seen on the group level.

He talked about Atletico Madrid’s rough start to the season, Spain’s crushing defeat at the World Cup and his personal achievements amongst other topics with Diario AS earlier today. Madrid Universal brings you the highlights from his press interaction.

The veteran was first about the possibility of Luis Enrique taking over the reins at Atletico Madrid but refused to comment on the topic.

“Luis Enrique at Atlético de Madrid? The only thing I see is that the mister [Diego Simeone] has a contract until 2024 and it is heard that he can also renew.”

He then acknowledged that everything in the world of football was volatile and dynamic but stressed that it would be better if those higher up in the hierarchy addressed such issues.

“Anything can happen in football. In the end, Simeone has a contract and we’ll see what happens later, whether he renews or not. Whether Luis Enrique is coming or not, it’s not my business. Those above will decide whether or not Simeone will continue and the coach himself has a lot to say about his future.”

The GOAT debate has been raging for years, but Lionel Messi’s Word Cup win has cooled the discussions extensively. The club captain joined the Argentine bandwagon and said that Messi deserved his title.

“Lionel Messi? He is the best player of all time. He is just worthy of taking the World Cup and we have to congratulate him. There is no discussion to find out who is the best in the world.”

Koke broke several records earlier this season when he became the player with the most appearances for Atletico Madrid but humbly said that he did not ever expect to make such a record.

“It’s something I couldn’t imagine. I didn’t think I was going to play a game with the Atlético shirt. It’s something you dream of.”

He then said that he was not one to keep track of individual achievements and always prioritised the group.

“I try to focus everything on what is coming and not on what I have done. Tomorrow I’m sure I’ll think about what I’ve achieved with the club, but now I’m just thinking about what I can achieve.”

Atletico Madrid stumbled at the first step in the UEFA Champions League this season, failing to get out of their group and even qualify for the Europa League. Koke refused to call it a failure and urged his teammates to take the right lesson from it.

“I wouldn’t say it like that. The word failure is too strong, in quotation marks. We have great footballers and we didn’t achieve the goal of the club, which was to overcome the group stage. That’s football. This has to help us learn so that it doesn’t happen to us again if we qualify for the next Champions League, which is the goal of the entity this season.”

He finally reflected on his international career with Spain and his experience of playing at the recently concluded World Cup. While Spain’s run in 2022 did not last long, he focused on the positive takeaways.

“I’ve played three and it’s something you have left for life. Playing a World Cup at this time is something different, but we adapt in the best possible way. We did not achieve the goal of winning champions, but we have to get positive things: there is a spectacular group, and there is a lot of future in the Spanish national team”

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Atletico Madrid News

Ancelotti talks Courtois, Militao, Bellingham, VAR controversies ahead of Las Palmas vs Real Madrid

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Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Coming off a highly controversial game against Almeria, Real Madrid will now travel to Gran Canaria to take on Las Palmas tomorrow as part of the early kick-off.

Carlo Ancelotti spoke about the clash tomorrow, starting off by confirming his goalkeeper for tomorrow, “Lunin will start tomorrow.”

He also added that Madrid were looking to get back to their usual level after back-to-back poor performances, one of which included elimination against Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey round of 16.

“We are motivated to return to our best level after 2 bad games.”

The Italian gaffer also commented on the biggest football story in the world today, which was Jurgen Klopp announcing his decision to leave Liverpool at the end of the season.

“It’s quite surprising, I understand. Working for a long time with the same club and players lowers your motivation a bit. He’s doing a fantastic job at Liverpool.”

And of course, Ancelotti also spoke about the leaked VAR audiovisual, some of which are highly controversial for all parties involved. Barcelona coach and players have also commented on the same, in light of the Negreira case.

“They have talked a lot. Everyone knows what has happened in the last 20 years in Spanish football. The Civil Guard is carrying out an investigations. That is the real problem of Spanish football.”

Luckily for the manager and fans, all injured players — minus the ACL trio of David Alaba, Eder Militao, and Thibaut Courtois — are available. Jude Bellingham is suspended, however.

“Everyone is available now after the recent period of injuries.”

“Making up for Bellingham’s absence tomorrow? Brahim and Joselu are available options. They were able to show themselves after I relied on them as substitutes,” he added.

And as far as Militao and Courtois are concerned, both of whom tore their ACL early in the season, Ancelotti suggested that they could make their return before the season ends.

“Courtois and Militão both have the option to play this season. The recovery process is going very well, they are training on an individual level. It is February and these types of injuries last 6-8 months, so I think they will recover before the end of the season.”

Source: Mundo Deportivo

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