Jan Oblak will be the one to bolt tonight in Bucharest in the match between Atlético de Madrid and Chelsea. The Slovenian has become the owner of the red-and-white goal for years and a guarantee of safety for Simeone's men. In an extensive interview in The Times, the Atlético goalkeeper reviews from the beginning, the situation of Atlético and what he expects from the tie against Chelsea. He also has praise for Kepa Arrizabalaga, a partner in the goal of the blues.
Match against Chelsea
Change at Chelsea: “They are the same players as when Lampard was there and they are very good. In the end, they have had a bad month or two going through a bad streak but it could happen to anyone. Nobody knows. If Lampard had stayed, the team would have changed to Likewise, Tuchel is a great coach. He did a great job in Dortmund and Paris and now he's coming to Chelsea and the team is playing well. They're really strong defensively. They have quality in the middle, good forwards too. It's a tough team When the season started, we all thought that Chelsea would be at the top. Now they are there. We expect two very difficult games. “
About Kepa: “He is a great goalkeeper. When he was in Spain I liked him a lot and when he went to Chelsea I still like him. Maybe he has gone through difficult times. People were talking about what Chelsea paid for him but I don't think that affected him. You know. what he can do and I'm sure he trusts himself. Now, he has played two of the last four games and has done great. It is impossible to pay so much for a goalkeeper who is not a great goalkeeper. He has had difficult times , but I'm sure he will pass them by and show everyone that they have underestimated him. “
Interest of the Premier: “I live in a big city, in a great country and I play in a great league. But, of course, I watch the Premier. It's a special league in which every game is difficult. Play there? As a player you never know what will happen in a few years but, of course, the Premier is attractive for any player “
Atlético de Madrid: Suárez, Simeone …
Adaptation to Atlético: “It has not always been easy. Sometimes hard times come and you have to work harder”
Match at Anfield: “It was impressive. When we beat them at home 1-0 we knew that going to Anfield was going to be crazy, that they were going to tie up with everything and that's how it was. For the players, the fans and the people who saw it on television, it was 120 minutes of attacking football and the atmosphere was incredible. They are great memories. Their fans sang really loud. Even though Liverpool lost they kept singing and applauding. I was impressed. “
Atlético fans: “They are unique. They are impressive. I can't wait for them to come back. I have played many years in front of them and now it is difficult. We miss them. They are our 12th player. When we play at home, I always feel like I have one more”
Fight against Real Madrid and Barcelona: “It is not easy to compete against Barcelona and Real Madrid. They have great players and more money but there is something different about Atlético: they have a lot of values. One of them is working hard. Atlético has grown a lot but you are always fighting with the greats It's not easy to play in a league against two favorites. Two great, great, teams. “
Departure from Suárez: “He's a great player but I don't know why he left. They probably had problems with the salary limit but I'm happy that they let him out and that he came to our team. He's a great striker. He can score from anywhere. All the players. teams need a Suarez. It's great to train with players like him who always want more. “
Simeone: “He is a great coach. Being so much in a club is not easy, especially in a big one. There are few who have achieved it like Ferguson or Wenger being always up. It is not easy. Diego has been nine years old and it is not easy to convince the team to do what he wants. You need to be a great motivator and he is. He is also very good at analyzing the opponent and preparing the way to play against him. He is doing a great job. For Atlético it was not normal to always be in the Champions League “.
Beginning of his career
Courage: “You have to be brave to be a goalkeeper. You can't be afraid of the ball, or the striker. Sometimes you have to put your hands and head where they put their boots. When you're young, if you're not afraid, you can be a goalkeeper. Then When you grow up you don't even think if the ball is going to hit you or if you can get injured, you just want to stop it, you just want to take it away from the striker “
Lock: “You need some luck but it is not only valid with the talent with which you were born, you have to work on it. You can be born with good reflexes but if you do not work on them, you will not improve”
Handball and tennis: “I played handball at school and that helped me to be a goalkeeper. I also agree with Kasper Schmeichel on tennis. Playing tennis helps me a lot since the movements of the tennis player and the goalkeeper on the line are quite similar” .
As a child: “I trained everything. I had soccer at five, handball at three and then basketball at 8. I love to play everything, even now. When my sister (a basketball player) could come to visit me in Madrid we used to go out to shoot (to basket). All the sports I did as a child were with my hands and they made me have strong wrists, which helped me as a goalkeeper. But my sport was soccer. I was always watching goalkeepers, when I was little I loved Peter Schmeichel I liked Casillas, Buffon and Dida, from Milan. I would rather see a save than a goal. “
His father as a model: “My father was my idol. He was a goalkeeper and I grew up in goal. Many times I was behind his goal watching the game and when he threw himself, I threw myself to the same side. Then he threw himself for the other and so did I. I wanted to be like him. “
Evolution: “Since I was little, I was always more mature than my friends. When I was eight, I played with the 12-year-olds, when I was thirteen with the 16-year-olds, and when I was 16, I was already in the first team.”