Atletico Madrid News
Koke talks Messi, Diego Simeone, Luis Enrique, and 2022 World Cup
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”
Atletico Madrid News
Atletico Madrid to rival Inter, AC Milan and Roma for 23-year-old centre-forward
Atletico Madrid are set to enter the market for another striker in the summer transfer window even though they signed Memphis Depay in January from Barcelona.
And according to Italian journalist Giacomo Iacobellis, Atletico Madrid are interested in signing 23-year-old striker Mateo Retegui, who is also on the radars of AC Milan, Inter and AS Roma.
Retegui, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, also has Italian citizenship and has recently been called up by Roberto Mancini to the national team squad for the upcoming UEFA Euro 2024 qualifiers.
The 23-year-old striker is currently plying his trade for Argentine outfit Tigre, on loan from Boca Juniors, having joined in February last year. He has made a solid impression so far in his time with his temporary club and has six goals in seven league appearances this season so far.
It has alerted Atletico Madrid, who are on the lookout for a new centre-forward. Depay was brought in earlier this year to replace Joao Felix, who left on loan and is likely to be sold permanently to Chelsea in the summer.
Having lost Matheus Cunha as well during the winter, Diego Simeone’s side do not have great depth up top, especially with Alvaro Morata not performing consistently. Hence, a new centre-forward could arrive at the Civitas Metropolitano, with Retegui emerging as an option.
Retegui’s loan deal runs until the end of this year, with Tigre having the option to make the transfer permanent. His contract with Boca Juniors expires at the end of December 2024.
Apart from Atletico, Italian clubs like AS Roma, AC Milan and Inter Milan are also keen on the 23-year-old and it remains to be seen if Retegui moves to Europe come summer.