Atletico Madrid captain Koke is confident highly rated new signing Joao Felix has the character to handle his €126million price tag.

Already a full Portugal international, Joao Felix became the fourth most expensive player in history when he moved from Benfica to Atletico in July.

The teenager hopes "to be like" compatriot and former LaLiga star Cristiano Ronaldo, although Diego Simeone insists comparisons between the pair are shallow.

Strong inner belief does seem to be one shared trait, though, with midfielder Koke a fan of the forward's attitude.

"He has a lot of personality," Koke told El Pais. "It's not easy to be 19 and have the pressure of what has been paid for him.

"He enjoys playing football. He has a lot of quality, but what I like most is the mischief [he creates], the dribbling. He likes to have the ball; he is not afraid to ask for it.

"You have to give him some time. If he plays two bad games, you can't kill him."

Atletico fans might need patience with more than one player following the arrival of seven senior new signings during the close season.

Among them are full-backs Kieran Trippier and Renan Lodi, who face a steep learning curve as they come to grips with Simeone's disciplined defensive structure.

"That is no problem because the coach will instil it," Koke said when asked about the attack-minded pair's aptitude at the back.

"If you're good going forward, Cholo makes you good in defence."

Koke is hoping that Antoine Griezmann will commit his future to Atletico Madrid and one day leave the club as a legend, much like departing centre-back Diego Godin.

The France international has spent the last five years in the Spanish capital and his performances have received such acclaim that he has twice come third in the Ballon d'Or voting.

Griezmann has consistently been linked with a move to Barcelona, despite signing a fresh deal only last year, and Koke is hoping he stays put for the long term.

"The player has shown what he is at Atletico," Koke told Marca.


Joyeux anniversaire @Atleti

— Antoine Griezmann (@AntoGriezmann) April 26, 2019

"We want him to continue, to be motivated, to continue to make history. Hopefully the day he leaves us will be a goodbye like Godin's."

Godin is leaving Atletico after nine years and Koke was keen to pay tribute to his departing team-mate, who won LaLiga, the Copa del Rey, two Europa Leagues and reached two Champions League finals.

"How could you not be emotional? I've gone through a lot with him," Koke added.

"He's been one of the leaders of one of the best eras. We want the best for him."

Sevilla spoiled Diego Godin's final home appearance for Atletico Madrid as Pablo Sarabia scored in the 70th minute to force a 1-1 draw on Sunday.

Sarabia beat Jan Oblak with a tidy side-footed finish from Franco Vazquez's cross to cancel out Koke's heavily deflected opener and keep alive the Andalusian club's slim Champions League hopes.

The result would have been sweeter for Joaquin Caparros' side had the goalscorer buried a good chance for a second and they still require results to go their way on the final day in order to pip Valencia and Getafe to fourth.

Atletico, meanwhile, will console themselves in the knowledge that second place behind LaLiga champions Barcelona is at least secured for the second successive season.

Alvaro Morata looked lively early on and brought a good save from Tomas Vaclik with a determined close-range header.

The striker did have the ball in the net just before the half-hour mark, but Filipe Luis had strayed offside in the build-up.

Fortune turned in Atletico's favour when Koke's tame attempt deflected off Simon Kjaer and wrong-footed goalkeeper Vaclik, before Sevilla lost Maxime Gonalons to an apparent muscle injury.

Thomas Partey gave the visitors a let-off after the interval, finishing wide of the left post following good lead-up play.

The assistant's flag next came to their rescue, Angel Correa having stepped beyond the last defender before rounding Vaclik.

And the visitors eventually made the reprieves count as Sarabia's volley squirmed under Francisco Montero's boot and past Oblak.

The winger was presented with a great chance to complete a quickfire comeback barely four minutes later, but he ballooned his shot over the crossbar to leave Sevilla two points adrift of the top four.


Koke has described Saturday's match against Barcelona as Atletico Madrid's "last bullet" as they seek to prolong LaLiga's title race.

Reigning champions and leaders Barca are eight points clear of second-placed Atleti, with just seven more matches of the league season to come after the crunch meeting at Camp Nou.

Diego Simeone's side, surprise Liga champions in 2013-14, continue to punch above their weight in competing with Barca and Real Madrid for major honours.

And Spain international Koke, while acknowledging the odds are stacked against his side, is determined to keep fighting for as long as possible.

"We will go with everything we have to win the game, it's our last bullet," the midfielder told beIN Sports.

"In the last few years we've been at a great level, we've always wanted to win but we have to be realists, there are huge teams in front of us."

Koke also hailed the importance of Antoine Griezmann, who remains the subject of speculation linking him with a move away from the Wanda Metropolitano.

"He's decisive for the team, even if he doesn't score," Koke said.

According to Koke, Alvaro Morata, a January loan arrival from Chelsea, has "given a boost to the team", although the striker is expected to miss the Barca clash due to a sprained ankle.

Atletico Madrid moved to within two points of LaLiga leaders Barcelona after a comfortable 3-0 win over bottom club Huesca on Saturday.

Diego Simeone lauded the role Koke played in Atletico Madrid's battling 1-1 LaLiga draw at Sevilla on Sunday, describing him as "extraordinary".

Atletico were up against it after Wissam Ben Yedder deservedly put the hosts ahead at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

But Simeone deployed Koke in a new role and saw Antoine Griezmann level matters with a stunning free-kick, leaving the Atletico coach to laud his midfield general.

"You could see that they were hurting us down their right flank," said Simeone, with Jesus Navas and Joris Gnagnon having proven a handful. 

"We changed Koke's position because tactically he's extraordinary. He did a great job in a position he's not used to. After that, everything changed."

It was an entertaining clash in Seville which saw second-placed Atletico maintain a two-point advantage over their hosts.

However, they failed to apply maximum pressure on leaders Barcelona, but Simeone was nonetheless pleased with the display.

"It was a great game," he said. "Sevilla are very strong at home and there were periods in which both teams dominated.

"We didn't attack very well in the first half but we improved greatly after the break. I think the way in which we reacted deserves praise."

Atletico Madrid eased into the last 16 of the Champions League with a 2-0 win over beleaguered Monaco, who saw Radamel Falcao miss a late penalty against his former club.

Diego Simeone's men were able to control proceedings against an injury-hit visiting side who lined up with four teenagers, taking the lead inside two minutes as Koke's strike found the net via a deflection off 17-year-old centre-back Benoit Badiashile.

Antoine Griezmann soon added a second goal and Atletico remained comfortable thereafter as they moved to 12 points from five games, a total Borussia Dortmund can match with victory over Club Brugge later on Wednesday.

Monaco, who finally claimed a first win since August 11 on Saturday, did have the chance to set up a nervy finish, only for Falcao to fire wide from the penalty spot after Stefan Savic had handled to pick up a second yellow card.

The Ligue 1 side now face a second successive early exit from European competition, their winless run in the Champions League having stretched to 13 games.

Badiashile and Giulian Biancone made their competition debuts as part of an inexperienced Monaco XI, but the former endured a nightmare start.

Koke was given far too much time and space to run towards goal and the midfielder’s shot from 20 yards deflected off the luckless Badiashile to leave goalkeeper Diego Benaglio helpless.

Former Monaco forward Thomas Lemar hit the post with a curling free-kick before Griezmann made it 2-0 on 24 minutes, the France international prodding home from close range with the outside of his boot after Angel Correa had left Jemerson on his backside.

Monaco finally had a clear-cut chance of their own on the hour mark when substitute Falcao, afforded a predictably warm reception following his previous heroics for Atleti, turned Savic superbly only to shoot straight at Jan Oblak.

Savic was fortunate to only be yellow-carded for elbowing Andrea Raggi in the chest, but the Montenegro defender did see red in the 82nd minute when he handled Youri Tielemans' goalbound effort.

Falcao fluffed his lines from the spot, though, shooting wide of Oblak's left-hand post to cap another dismal evening for Monaco.

Diego Godin and Diego Costa are doubts for Atletico Madrid's Champions League game at home to Borussia Dortmund after missing training on Sunday.

Atletico Madrid will be without Diego Godin, Koke and Diego Costa for their LaLiga clash with Leganes on Saturday. 

Diego Simeone says he has a "great affection" for Real Madrid's temporary head coach Santiago Solari.

Diego Godin, Koke and Diego Costa all missed training on Thursday to place their participation in Atletico Madrid's LaLiga trip to Leganes in doubt.

Koke has been recalled to the Spain squad by Luis Enrique but his Atletico Madrid team-mate Diego Costa has been left out.

Diego Simeone has described Atletico Madrid's 2-0 win over Getafe on Saturday as his side's best LaLiga performance of the season. 

Jordi Alba and Koke have been left out of Luis Enrique's first Spain squad, while Alvaro Morata and Sergi Roberto have been recalled.

Antoine Griezmann has been named one of Atletico Madrid's four captains following the departure of Gabi.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.