Koke, reliability from the leader

With his goal against Cádiz, he has been scoring in the league for ten years in a row. He commands pivot, with more than 55 passes per game (90% correct). Two encounters from Tomás Reñones.


Atlético has reached the half of LaLiga with 50 points, eight victories in a row, an unbeatable step despite the setbacks and a more colorful and combinative football than in previous years. It is being the League of Luis Suárez (Pichichi with 14 goals), Oblak (Zamora with 10 goals against), Llorente (six goals and five assists), João Félix, Correa ... and as always of Koke.

The captain is not in the limelight, but he is probably the most essential player in Simeone's scheme. The footballer is always ready to leave his skin for the needs of the team, even if that means shining less near the rival area. Against Cádiz, Koke had the award for his work with his first goal in this league, the tenth in a row in which he has achieved it. Since his debut against Sevilla in the 2010-11 season, he has always managed to see the door at least twice per season in the competition. With Cholo, his numbers were magnified in all areas, reaching 14 assists in the 2015-16 season (he is the midfielder with the most goal passes of the decade) and five goals in the 2013-14 season (plus 13 assists ), where he raised the title.

But this season, the new mattress style and the momentum of form of players like Lemar have led him to accumulate many minutes at the pivot. The player who goes down to initiate the attack plays, who stays behind to cover his back when his teammates go up lines to prevent the team from breaking, and who orders and commands closing the center of the field. Koke is the third Atlético player who accumulates the most minutes in the league (1,434), only surpassed by Oblak (1,710) and Savic (1,530). He only missed the match in Eibar due to suspension, where the team noticed his absence a lot, although he ended up getting the victory with a double from Suárez and his Panenka in minute 89.

If it was a challenge to see Koke in the double pivot with continuity throughout the course, since Simeone used to end up shooting on the wing due to his capacity for work and physical deployment, in the pivot he continues to be the team's thermometer. The Vallecano adds 993 good passes in the League, of which 566 are in the opposite field. They are followed on the list by Hermoso (861), Savic (768) and Trippier (589). On the verge of reaching 1,000 good shipments, he has a 90.6% success rate, the one with more than the staff above Herrera (89.2) and Torreira (88.12). He is the tenth player in the competition with the most good passes on a list led by Parejo (1,329), De Jong (1,316) and Kroos (1,214) .

In addition, the mattress captain is also the player who steals the most from Atlético. Koke has 99 recoveries, for Llorente's 86 and Hermoso's 82. If he plays against Celta, the mattress midfielder will exceed 1,000 passes and 100 steals in a position where he carries out a darker job, less showy than other seasons, but just as or more important. Meanwhile, Koke is two games away from catching up with Tomás Reñones as the second player with the most games played in the club's history.

The '6', the only player who has lived with Simeone since the coach's first day on the rojiblanco bench, has 481 official rojiblanco games, for Tomás' 483 and only surpassed by Adelardo's 553. The heart of this Atlético, living history of the club, who dreams of being able to lift the league title at the end of the season in what would be the first trophy with Koke serving as first captain. Of course, without leaving the game by game that has taken him to the rojiblanco podium and that, if he continues like this, will help him to be the footballer with the most games in the history of Atlético de Madrid.

Photos from as.com
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