Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin says he is tired of being told that Los Rojiblancos are a violent team.
Diego Simeone’s men have come under fire in the media as well as from opposition players this season for their physical approach to the game, something the Uruguayan is quick to deny.
“Of course we are tired of this and we don’t believe the stories or where they come from,” maintained the 28-year-old in an interview with AS.
“We compete and have been doing so for years. Everything we have achieved is based on hard work, on effort, on working well and being intense, but not on violence. We play football and nothing more.”
Looking ahead to this weekend’s derby clash with cross-city rivals Real Madrid, Godin believes Atleti cannot be classed as favourites despite holding home advantage and not having lost to Los Blancos in their last five meetings.
“It’s going to be an important match against a direct rival in La Liga, while it’s at the Calderon and obviously we are hoping to win, but there is no favourite.
“There is never a favourite in a derby game, even less so nowadays. Although we’ve won the last few, past results don’t mean you are going to win a match.
“But we’ve found a way to play against them and that has paid off, so we’ve always maintained that line. We could win, lose or draw, but we are definite about our style.
“It’s not just against Madrid, but also against the rest, yet Madrid demand an intensity and concentration that is much bigger due to the quality they possess.”
Godin feels the atmosphere in the derby has changed recently, while he maintains that if Atleti lose on Saturday it would not signal the end to their title chances.
“We were unable to beat them in my first year here and then the derby was experienced in a special way, although it’s always viewed with optimism, and it’s true the dynamic has now changed.
“Atleti are more competitive and have been conditioned to fight against the great powers of Madrid and Barca. That’s how people perceive it.
“But if we get beat I don’t thinkn we’ll say goodbye to La Liga. We’ll try to take the points off Madrid and cut the distance from behind, but there are a lot of games left.
“It is still very even and it’s too soon to say that it is already over,” he insisted.