‘Atleti-Barca not decisive, but…’

Paulo Futre doesn’t feel Atletico Madrid’s game against Barcelona will decide La Liga, but ‘it’s important in every way.’

The former Atletico forward spoke to Onda Cero’s Al Primer Toque programme and with the meeting of the top two, level on points after the weekend’s results, to come, was asked about the magnitude of the match.

“It’s not a game that will decide the League, of course, but it’s an important match in every way,” Futre said, AS reports.

“Let’s see how the two teams are, because it’s madness to be playing the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey in January. It’s a punishment, a lot of minutes in the legs of the players and can sink you for the rest of the season.”

Futre elaborated on Barca, referring back to the situation a year ago when the club was approaching a crisis and Luis Enrique’s job was in question.

“I remember when Andoni Zubizarreta left. It was chaos,” he recalled.

“From there [Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar] began to play very well. They seem to get along off the pitch. That’s important.

“They’re doing something amazing. It’s a treat to watch them play. But they still lose and if they fall asleep, we’re there.”

Futre added that it is the influence of Diego Simeone that has turned Atletico into a side that can contend with Barca and Real Madrid, despite having the smaller budget of the top three.

“Cholo has accustomed us to fighting and winning. We know we’re fighting with two huge sharks with budgets bigger than ours, but with Cholo there are no budgets,” he continued.

“The team works a lot and always fights to the end with blood and sweat and for this reason we have grown accustomed.

“With the motivation the team has we can dream and we can win, as happened a few years ago.”

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