Koke: All work to stop Madrid

Koke explains Atletico Madrid will approach Real Madrid in the Champions League Final as they usually do. ‘All working, all running…”

The midfielder appeared on Al Primer Toque and as well as discussing his future and gratitude to Diego Simeone, preview Saturday’s Madrid derby in Milan, the second time in three years the clubs have met in the European showpiece.

“How will we stop [Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale]? As we always have done, all working, all running, always helping each other. That’s how we’ve done it several times,” he revealed, AS reports.

“To play another Champions League Final is very complicated and very difficult. I know that to play a Champions League Final is amazing. We’re going to play a second and it’s exciting to be in the final again.

“What happened in 2014 is the past and this is a new final. They won two years ago and no one is going to return it to you. This is a new opportunity that we all want to take and we’re going with all the hope in the world, but all the humility in the world as well.

“It’s not revenge, no. You can’t get back the final of two years ago. It’s a new opportunity. Atletico, the favourites? No, it’s very equal. Atleti have never been favourites.”

The 2014 final was a painful one for Atleti as, after taking an early lead through Diego Godin, they were pegged back in added time by Sergio Ramos and eventually lost 4-1.

“I have a good relationship with Ramos but we have never talked about the goal, because if it was the other way around I wouldn’t go to anyone saying ‘we’ve won the final,’” Koke commented.

“You can win a lot of trophies but to play a Champions League Final is the maximum for a football player. When you’re in the game everything passes so fast that you can’t think. Then when you’re at home you think about it. When you’re playing there are tenths of a second and you have to be smart to do things right.

“The fans suffer a lot. We’re on the pitch and everything happens so fast. You try to do your job, you try to get things right, to win, but the fans, I’m sure they suffer more than we do on the pitch.

“The rivalry is unbelievable. In Lisbon, for example, it went so well. There was no problem before the game between the two sets of fans, and I hope again there are no problems. It’s a nice day, to enjoy, to have a good time, and hopefully our fans see us win.”

Koke also discussed the players he will be opposing, and feels that Zinedine Zidane has made Madrid into a more defensive team.

“They’re the same players [as with Rafa Benitez]. Zidane has given them motivation and they’re a bit above where they were before. They defend a little more with Casemiro, maybe they get fewer people forward, but they are more compact and it’s harder to get between the lines. We’ll see which Madrid goes out in the final and we’ll try to do our best to win.”

Koke added that he has friends who support Madrid and claims that they wish him well, even if they’d prefer Los Blancos to triumph on May 28.

“I have Madrid friends, Atleti friends, Barcelona friends, I have friends from many teams. I don’t talk to the Madrid friends before the final! No, they always wish the best of luck,” he acknowledged.

“A lot of Madrid fans say ‘the truth is, we would be very happy for you.’ But we already know that in football it’s not always about who deserves it. You have to win.

“Two years ago we won at San Siro when we beat Milan. I hope for a repeat. I think it all started there, in Milan, when we knocked them out. We won 1-0 and got a good result in Milan.”

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