Atletico captain Koke wants return of 100 percent crowd in stadiums

Spanish health chiefs on Wednesday announced that sports grounds will be able to return to 100 percent capacity for the first time since the pandemic next month.

Published : Feb 17, 2022 16:11 IST

Koke, who marshals the mid-field, called his team's pre-season strange but refused to use it as an excuse for the club's poor run of form.
Koke, who marshals the mid-field, called his team's pre-season strange but refused to use it as an excuse for the club's poor run of form.
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Koke, who marshals the mid-field, called his team's pre-season strange but refused to use it as an excuse for the club's poor run of form.

Reigning Spanish champion Atlético Madrid captain Koke is desperate to see the crowds returning to the venues in full strength after playing in empty or half-empty stadiums for more than a year owing to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

Spanish health chiefs on Wednesday announced that sports grounds will be able to return to 100 percent capacity for the first time since the pandemic next month.

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Asked how does he feel about not having the team's supporters around, Koke said, "We miss our fans. We really want them at the stadium. I hope they can all be with us soon, not just 40% of them. We want all our people to be at the stadium, and I hope it happens soon." At the end of last December, Spanish authorities reduced crowd attendance to 75 percent and 50 percent indoors to combat rising cases of COVID-19.

There have been more than 10 million cases of the virus recorded in Spain with 97,000 deaths.

However, the numbers have dropped to 1,060 cases per 100,000 people over the last 14 days.

Defending Spanish League champion Atlético Madrid suffered a shock home defeat to lowly side Levante on Wednesday ahead of its Champions League clash against Manchester United.

Ahead of his team's match against Levante, Koke, or Jorge Resurrección Merodio, had sounded optimistic.

"We have an exciting season ahead. As always, we want to complete a great season. Hopefully, we can win like last year, but to do that you have to work very hard. It's a long season." Former Argentine captain Diego Simeone's side are in the midst of a disastrous season and are currently outside the top four in La Liga.

It is placed fifth in the standings with 39 points from 24 matches, 15 points behind leader Real Madrid.

Koke, who marshals the mid-field, called his team's pre-season strange but refused to use it as an excuse for the club's poor run of form.

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"It was a strange pre-season because the players returned little by little, myself included. But that's not an excuse; we have to start strongly, work hard, do what we have to do and adapt quickly. We have to compete, fight and win games." As far as he is concerned, Koke said, "I don't think about becoming the player with the most appearances. I only think about competing, winning games and seeing Atleti win. If you work hard and persevere, you can achieve your goals and become a champion."

The interview is part of the LaLiga World show and readers/viewers can watch the full interview on LaLiga's regional broadcaster.

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