Enrique Cerezo: "Football owes us a Champions ..."

The president of Atlético de Madrid is more excited than ever about the possibility of being European champion: "It would be incredible to give such great joy to our people."


Enrique Cerezo (Madrid, 1948) is in Lisbon with the rest of the expedition and after the burden of the two positives for coronavirus. But the president only wants to talk about football and, as usual, he shows a lot of optimism about what comes to Atlético.

— How do you face this final eight of the Champions League?

— We face the matches with great enthusiasm and, above all, with great desire to win. We are presented with a magnificent opportunity and we have two games ahead of us to reach the final.

— What a scare happened with the positives of Correa and Vrsaljko ...

— It's a shame that Ángel and Sime can't be with us in Lisbon, but the important thing is that, luckily, they are fine and without symptoms. His relatives have also tested negative. I hope they recover as soon as possible. They are very important to the team.

— Are you worried that everyone will give Atlético the favorite to get into the final?

— I don't care. You have to play against Leipzig, eliminate them and then play another game to reach the final. But the other teams are looking for the same. We want to be in the final, but only fate knows what will happen.

— Simeone knows how to play these types of matches and that is a very advantageous point for Atlético ...

— It is true that Simeone knows how to play these games. Our coaches and players are not novices in this type of clash. We have prepared people, experienced footballers in Europe and we are looking for this trophy.

— Do you have a hunch with a certain player?

— No. We have a great squad and a great coach, although I think the star could be João Félix. He is in his environment, in his home, in his land and he will give everything in these games. But the same will happen with the rest, with Llorente, Saúl, Koke, Costa ... Atlético have very important players.

— João Félix was not the star of LaLiga, which many expected, although it was not a disaster either ...

— When you get on a team the first year it's never easy. João Félix has had to adapt to Atlético, Simeone, his teammates, LaLiga ... And he hasn't had a bad season. They have campaigned according to their circumstances: a new country, a new team, different teammates ...

— In other words, you've had a year of learning ...

— It has been a year to get situated. It is rare to see a player who comes from another country have a very good first year where they go. Acclimatizing takes time and the same thing happens with our footballer.

— João Félix will play at home and it is sure to be special for him.

— The boy has a great desire to succeed and eager to show that he is an important player. This Champions League is the right moment to end the season in the best way. And yes, he plays in his country, which will be different for him.

— There is a general coincidence that football owes Atlético a Champions League ...

— We have played three finals and due to various circumstances we were unable to win them. Football owes us a Champions League and I hope this is it. Football is like that, we had the Champions League in hand three times, but at the last moment it left us.

— Each lost ending was more cruel than the last ...

— Each one was more cruel, it is true. We must be patient, calm and play well. And so we can win.

— What do you know about Leipzig?

— Everyone said they agreed that he was the best opponent we could touch. But beware, there is no small enemy. We are talking about the eight best teams in Europe and here there is no simple rival. They are a German team and as such we must have the utmost respect for them. He has finished third in his league, like us in ours, and he has important players.

— Are you more excited than ever about being European champion?

— I have the same illusion as always. Maybe more. It is an atypical end for everything that has happened with the pandemic. Matches were played, we won against Liverpool, but then everything stopped ... The illusion of Atlético fans is still intact, we go to Lisbon with a single idea: to bring us the Champions League. We want to get the thorn out of the three lost finals.

— I am now looking at the human issue. For many, after everything that happened, a great victory for Atlético would be the best news of the year ... 444 444

— It would be very nice for Atlético and for Spain if another Spanish team won the Champions League. For us it would be very important and I know that we would make many people happy. It would return us to a situation of champions that would be very important for the players, coaching staff, managers and fans.

— Do you feel that you are facing a historical moment?

— I think so. It's like when the first league of the three points for victory was played and we were champions. Now something similar happens, they changed their venue to play the final and after all the problems it would be incredible to be able to give great joy to our fans. But I ask our fans to be patient. Tough rivals await us, it will be difficult, but we must always expect the best from our team.

— Like every summer, rumors about Oblak are triggered again and many see him in the Premier ...

— About Oblak I can only say that he has a contract with Atlético and until the contrary is proven, he is our player. He is the best goalkeeper in the world and it is logical that the five or six most important clubs in the world want to have such a goalkeeper. But everything cannot be had in this life.

— You refer to the clause of any major player, but are you afraid of running out of Oblak?

— Fear, no. No way. Life has shown us things and I am convinced that Oblak will continue to play for Atlético.

— Last year there was a major restructuring in the squad, but important players like Oblak, Saúl, Giménez are still at the club despite the interest of other teams ...

— That speaks of a good job from the technical secretariat, with Andrea Berta at the helm. And that shows that when work is done well, it is good. Also, I have something else to say to you by talking about this.

— Tell me ...

— Another important issue is having Cholo Simeone in such a fantastic way. He has been with us for eight years and in the eight years he has put us in the Champions League. I think I can proudly say that there will be few coaches in the world, perhaps excluding Manchester United (Ferguson), who have spent so many years at the same club with such success. And what remains in Atlético.

— I mean, there is Cholo for a while ...

— Well yes. Despite the criticism it has received from many people. But one thing is clear: Cholo's results at Atlético are unquestionable. Some criticize Simeone's way of playing, but he is the one who rules at Atlético and does what he wants to do. The results are good.

— The technician seems with the same illusion as always ...

— It shows a magnificent illusion and it is worth noting that after eight years it continues as the first day. Surely in five or six years he will continue with the same desire and fighting to give Atlético titles and triumphs.

— We are done. What would you give to win the Champions League?

— Well, I don't know. I think of the illusion that so many people would see seeing us bring the Champions League to Madrid and offer it to Madrid fans and to all the Atlético players around the world. I would remember many people, Jesús Gil, who was president and my friend. And of all the players who have been in this stage of Simeone. Many collaborated and helped Atlético be where it is.

— Is there any important news at the club level?

— We work with the institutions so that the Atlético name is present in the institutions. Soon there may be news regarding our Sports City and a number of other things. We'll have good news for sure.

— Give me a result against Leipizig ...

— Win. Let's go to Lisbon to do it. Win. I don't care if it's 1-0 unfair penalty in the last minute.

Photos from as.com
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