‘Derbies played with the heart’

Filipe Luis has reflected on the ‘great inequality’ he still sees between the top two and Atletico Madrid, but warns Real Madrid ahead of this weekend.

Atleti travel out to the Santiago Bernabeu this Saturday two points and a place above their city rivals and having broken a 13-and-a-half-year winless streak in their last meeting, the Copa del Rey Final in May.

“I really liked to make history and become part of the team that broke the streak that was so bad for so many years,” reflected Filipe this week on that Cup victory at the end of last season.

“I was also part of that poor run where we had only lost to Real Madrid and it was very negative to have lost so many derbies. It should not be.

“It is true that there remains some inequality, but derbies are played more with the heart, with the dream of being able to beat them with any kind of budget.

“We must try to run with the ambition once more of a child and again make the derby more even.

“Has anything changed since the Copa del Rey Final? We know we can win and we know how to beat them. We did it.

“Now, it is another case with Real Madrid, who had one of their worst days, in the Cup final, yet still had six or seven clear chances, so we know that they are very hard to beat.

“But the team is strong, we know the collective level of the team is great and we have to maintain that. No-one is more important than anyone else.”

Atleti’s 100 per cent start to the League season has led to the suggestion that they could break Barcelona and Madrid’s hold of the top two spots in the League.

“Prudent no, we are realistic. It is completely impossible to compete with the budget that they have. It is very unfair to everyone.

“In the League there are some historic clubs and they are close to bankruptcy and there are other clubs that are super powerful.

“The only thing they care about is themselves and fighting for the Champions League. The inequality is great. Therefore, we are realistic and our fight is not for the League.

“For third spot then? We have to try and get into the top four, but we go game by game, which is providing us with very good results and, above all, we want to go further in the cup competitions, where Atleti are historically strong.

“Can we break the ‘League of two?’ When I came to Spain, I had this ambition. When I arrived, Sevilla and the entire League was competing with the two, Villarreal were runners-up one year, Valencia had won the League in 2004.

“But every year it has gotten worse, every year Real Madrid and Barcelona have picked up more than 100 points, they have lost two or three games only a season and have demonstrated perfectly the disparity.

“Even modest teams are failing to keep their stars and are having to let them go. The great trust is that almost all the best players are in other Leagues.”

Tags Filipe Luis