Koke admits he finds it hard to think of Atletico Madrid without Diego Simeone but points out everyone leaves eventually. ‘It’s the law of life.’
The midfielder appeared on Al Primer Toque to discuss the season just finishing, the Champions League Final and Spain’s squad for Euro 2016, as well as touching on other topics, with Cholo’s contribution to Los Colchoneros among them.
“From the first day he came to the club Cholo changed the mentality. We’re all good players, we have to go game-by-game, final-to-final. Every game is like a final and we have to win,” Koke noted, AS reports, before addressing the point that there are young Atleti fans who have only seen the team succeed.
“Being Atleti is the best thing. You always have to be Atleti in the good times and the bad. It’s very nice when you win everything and you’re all of Atleti. I hope we never go through bad times but when we do, these kids have to be with us to the death then too.
“We’ve worked for these games for five years, especially the mentality. We’ve changed the mind-set and that was essential for all of us, even the fans. We don’t go to play these games with tranquillity, but knowing we are going to do things well. Then it’s football, you can win or lose, but we’re prepared with a mentality that didn’t exist before.”
Koke was asked if he could see Cholo working the same way at another team and couldn’t give an answer, but accepted there’ll be a point in time when everyone currently at the club has moved on.
“You’d have to ask Cholo about that. It depends. Each club is different and has its philosophy. At Atletico it’s work, sacrifice and fight for each game as if it was a final. You can be the best in the world but if you don’t run, you don’t play,” he argued.
“You never know in football. There are times when you have to do other things. Maybe Atletico come to me tomorrow and say ‘look, we’re not counting on you, we have another project, goodbye and thanks for everything.’ That wouldn’t be good but hey, I have to earn a living. But now I’m very happy and I don’t think of leaving.
“I’d like to spend my career here, but you never know. There was contact from Barcelona. We had just won the title. This is Atletico’s best moment, one that might not be repeated for years. Of the hundred years of Atletico, this is the best. How could I leave? Why would I lose this?
“Today I can’t imagine Atleti without Cholo. But someday I will go, Cholo will go, Gabi will go. Everyone will go. It’s the law of life.”