Atletico must play CL final as if it was their last, says Koke


Midfielder Koke issued a rallying cry to his Atletico Madrid team mates on Saturday ahead of next week’s Champions League final against Real Madrid.

The midfielder told a news conference that the players have to face the final in Milan on May 28 as if it were the last they would ever play in.

“You are not more nervous, you play like all your team mates,” Koke said. “You have to take on the final as if it was the last one you’ll play, you never know,” he added. “If you win you have this feeling that you’ve nourished since you were little and you feel it more.”

The Spanish midfielder said Atletico’s strategy would be to play tight at the back and try to pounce on any mistakes made by Real Madrid. “I think we have to defend well and take advantage of their errors, because in these games they commit very few,” he said.

Striker Antoine Griezmann responded to his coach Diego Simeone’s claim that he was one of the best three players in the world. “That’s nice, no?” he said. “The truth is I try to give my best in every game and every training session. My team mates and the coaching team do everything so that I can be at this level, I hope that I can continue like this.”

The Frenchman, who will lead his country’s attack at next month’s European Championship, was asked if he dreamed of playing in the Champions League final when he was a boy.

“It was too far off, I was very small and I just wanted to play or score goals like I saw on television,” he said. “Thanks to my efforts and working hard, day in, day out, I will play a Champions League final and the European Championship.

“To play in the final of the Champions League is a dream and an objective. I am very happy, now we have to prepare well, we have had two weeks and we have another week still to prepare.”