‘No-one more important than Cholo’

Jan Oblak has asserted that Diego Simeone “is the most important” figure at Atletico Madrid after reflecting on his own two seasons at the club.

Oblak joined Atleti from Benfica in the summer of 2014 as Thibaut Courtois’ replacement between the sticks and initially struggled to stake his claim, before an injury to Miguel Angel Moya in March 2015 saw the Slovene never look back.

“[On signing a renewal with the highest release clause in Atleti’s history], I never think too forward because one day things can change,” the Zamora winner remarked in the second part of his interview with Marca.

“At the moment, I’m very happy here, everything is perfect and I hope we go on as we have done: playing well, picking up good results and being happy.

“[On the pressure of replacing Thibaut Courtois], Courtois had returned to Chelsea before I arrived.

“It’s true that every year a team change their players and sign some new ones, but I wanted to show that I could play here.

“[On his goalkeeping idols], there are some very good goalkeepers in the world, but I can’t just name one or two because there so are many.

“[On not being No 1 when he arrived and being No 2 for Slovenia], it’s not easy.

“The Coach decides who plays and you have to wait your turn. When you get [your chance], you must do things right.

“When you join a new team, you always struggle a little. At first, you don’t say much because you don’t have a good-enough grasp of the language, but it’s normal.

“You need some time to feel good, although it’s not so difficult.

“[On who helped him to settle at the club, Mario] Mandzukic is Croatian and [Stefan] Savic is Montenegrin, so we’d speak in Serbo-Croatian.

“Last season was my first, but it was also for Mario. This [season, I’m settled, I’ve got to know everyone and I speak Spanish, so I can help Stefan in turn.

“[On the team’s joker], I’d say Oliver Torres and Jesus Gamez.”

“The Coach is the most important figure here. Everything starts from him.

“He’s done well in recent seasons, winning trophies, so all the players are happy to have him as their Coach.”

Tags Diego Simeone Jan Oblak