Atletico Madrid celebrated their open media day in Cerro del Espino with over 200 journalists from 70 media companies around the world. The event offers the media a chance to speak with players and watch training ahead of the Champions League Final in Milan next Saturday.
Diego Simeone was highest on the media's list of people they wanted to speak with and he spoke mostly of the team's preparation for the final: "We're expecting a calm build-up to the final, working hard mostly, looking for different ways to approach the match if different situations occur. The expectations for the game are huge, facing a rival with fantastic players. They are one of the three best teams in the world. We will try to take the game to where we feel most comfortable and more protected. Two years ago we came with some boys with physical troubles: Arda Turan and Diego Costa... this year we expect to arrive in the best condition."
The Argentinian manager also referred to the only doubt he seems to have in the starting XI, who Diego Godín's companion in the centre of defense: "Both Giménez, Savic, Lucas or Godín are fine. All four of them have had a great season, each of them in different moments and places, very positive. Thanks to their excellent form, we have been able to achieve good numbers in defense. I'm very proud of them. We will see who starts."
He also pointed at Carrasco as one of the players who has adapted best to the team along with Augusto and tags him as one of the key players for Saturday's game regardless of how long he plays. When asked about how they are expecting Real Madrid to play Cholo said: "I imagine an opponent similar to the one who faced Manchester City, playing counter-attacking football and waiting. Casemiro gives them a lot of balance. We will to try pressure them higher up the field and play with speed. If Real Madrid give us the ball? We would play with it, we don't really have any other options."
In addition the coach called Griezmann one of the best three players in the world and the Frenchman also took part in the press conference: "I'm living some good times, I'm doing my best in every training session and every game. My team-mates and the technical staff allow me stay at this level. I hope I can play this way for a lot longer. Before starting the season I wanted to improve last year's performance and I have achieved that. Next season I will say the same."
The attacker also talked about how he thinks the game will play out: "Each coach has different tactics. The advice before kickoff and halftime will be important, personnel changes and things like that. Madrid are a strong side. The most important thing is that we are mentally and physically ready. It will be hard and we will have to deliver 100%."
The Zamora award winner Jan Oblak also allowed us in on his thoughts (in nearly perfect Spanish, by the way) for the game: "Gabi, Torres, Koke and Saul have played here since they were children, I haven't, but I have as excited as them. I want to win for the club, the fans, the squad and me. We are aware it will be hard. Getting a clean sheet could be important."
Koke, another one of the players who was present in Lisbon during Atletico and Real's last trip to the Champions League final, also left his impressions and differences between both games: "The keys will be defending well, being attentive and try to take advantage of their errors, because in a final there won't be many. We have had two weeks to prepare for the game and we arrive in much better physical condition. Two years ago we played another final against Barcelona just one week before. We have to face the final like it was our last. You never know when you will play your next one."
Diego Godín and Augusto Fernández were the last players chosen to answer questions from the assembled journalists. Some quotes from the Pharaoh regarding the game: "It is the match of our lives, very important for lot of people, the club and the team. We face it this way too, raring to go. It is not for revenge, we will play the final like a new opportunity to write a beautiful page in the history of Atletico Madrid. I expect a Real Madrid in their Champions course of action, waiting, defending well and trying to surprise us with counters and an intense Atletico pressuring and taking advantage of spaces. It will be a physically and tactically equal final. The finer details will decide it."
Meanwhile, the Argentinian midfielder, although being one the newest members of the squad, proved he already knows the mentality and philosophy of the team: "If there is something that predominates us, it is our values, effort, humility and hard work. That's what we hold and that every day we try to bring with us. We know we have to look at every detail, and we work on these things in every training session. We want to improve every single day."