This weekend marks the end of a thrilling Liga BBVA season. A campaign in which Diego Simeone’s Club Atlético de Madrid have led the way, ending with a title decider against FC Barcelona. One of the team’s star players is Jorge Resurrección ‘Koke’, who gave an exclusive interview to LFP.es to look back at a great year for the club and his own career.
LFP.es: It has been a long season, but you are just one match away from achieving your objectives. What’s it like knowing that everything depends on the match against Barcelona?
Koke: It has been a long and a very nice season. The game against Barcelona will be very special and we’re going to have to give everything to win because it’s a final. It has been a dream season, playing the final match for the Liga BBVA title against Barcelona is spectacular.
LFP.es: After Barcelona, it's the final of the UEFA Champions League. How do you keep a cool head at a time like this?
Koke: You always dream of winning the Liga BBVA and the Champions League, but the important thing is to take each game as it comes. That’s our philosophy and it has been our approach for several years, ever since to boss took charge. This means we’re psyched for the most important match that we have now.
LFP.es: What would it mean to you to lift the Champions League trophy for the first time in the club’s history?
Koke: It would be very nice and very special. Playing for the team you’ve supported all your life and winning a title, a Liga BBVA or a Champions League, would be spectacular.
LFP.es: What does Diego Simeone have that has ensured that synergy between club, players and fans?
Koke: The boss came here with a winning mentality. I think it’s what we all needed. He also has a good relationship with the players and, when he was a player himself, the year of the double, he scored in the last match. He still has that feeling with people. He has done great things and the fans love him.
"We have to live in the present and not the past"
LFP.es: This year the Atlético fans have not let you down on the big occasions. What does it mean to play in front of them and give them reasons to be happy?
Koke: Our fans never let us down, they are always by our side in the good times and the bad. Their role is hugely important because when we play in the Vicente Calderón we really feel their presence. That is really special because it gives you that extra motivation.
LFP.es: You have formed an almost perfect partnership with Diego Costa. What is it like to share the same dressing room with football’s en vogue player?
Koke: I’ve known Diego for a long time now. The truth is we understand each other really well; I try to pick him out and in turn he tries to make the most of the opportunities. We all get on really well in the dressing room, not only with Diego. There’s a great team atmosphere.
LFP.es: Do the recent favourable results against Barcelona give you an extra bit of confidence or do they add more pressure?
Koke: Not at all. We have played against them five times. They won a title, we were able to seal our place in the final of the Champions League, and in the Liga BBVA we drew with them at home. I don’t think that should add any extra pressure on us, we have to go out to play, to win, because every match is different. Even though we’ve played each other a few times this season, we have to approach this game differently because it is a final.
LFP.es: A few months ago you said you were going to work hard to be in with a chance of making the national squad, and now you have been included in the 30-man shortlist. Have you already started packing your bags for Brazil?
Koke: No, my bag’s not packed yet, just the one for Barcelona (laughs). I have to keep a cool head. There are two finals to go and you have to be on top of your game in order to make it into the final list of 23. "The manager came here with a winning mentality. I think that is what the rest of us were missing"
LFP.es: Have there been any downsides to the season?
Koke: There is always room for improvement. We are fighting to win the Liga BBVA and the Champions League. We reached the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey. Perhaps we could have made the final or even won it but that’s about the only thing you could point to. The team has gone out to win every match and, although there is always room for improvement, we have no regrets because we have given it our all.