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Olympique de Marseille-Atlético Madrid: Europa League final Media Day roundup

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Several Atlético players offered their thoughts on the May 16 final.

Atletico Madrid v Arsenal FC  - UEFA Europa League Semi Final Second Leg

In one week’s time, Olympique Marseille and Atlético Madrid will meet at Parc Olympique Lyonnais to determine the 2017/18 Europa League champions. It’s an intriguing matchup between Marseille’s talented attack and Atlético’s stingy defense, but one off-the-pitch storyline is already overshadowing the final.

Many Atlético players were asked about that storyline — in addition to the actual match — on open Media Day at A Stadium Called Wanda on Wednesday afternoon.

Diego Simeone

On making a final many expected his team to make:

“Everyone imagined the possibility that Atleti could be in this final and we have arrived.

“There is a rival who is good, plays well, a coach who has worked well with all his teams and [we’ll] have a hotly-disputed final.”

On the type of team he wants:

“Six years ago, I said I wanted to have an annoying team, and I’ve reaffirmed that. I want to be more annoying yet.”

Fernando Torres

On finding a perfect ending to his Atlético career:

“Winning at my club, at Atlético, in my home, is something I’ve dreamed of since childhood. It would be a perfect ending.”

On continuing to compete with Barcelona and Real Madrid:

“We are in a league with two giants who surpass us in many things. The only way from the outside that you can see us want to get closer and surpass them is to win.”

On Atleti’s challenging season:

“In a difficult year where we could not sign players, with a new stadium, many players left [in the winter window], we can win a title. It’s something few can say.”

Gabi

On Barcelona’s reported interest in Antoine Griezmann:

“I don’t appreciate whether his clause is cheap or not. He could play on any team in the world and he’s very important to us. We want to focus on the final, we’ve been talking about Antoine all year.

“We are calm, focused on the final, and Antoine’s future remains to be seen.”

On needing to win this final:

“The truth is we’ve gone a long time without winning. We’ve gotten to finals but haven’t won them. This team needs to win again, to be among the elite, to appeal to players who want to come and keep those who want to stay. That happens when you win.”

Koke

On Marseille’s strengths and support:

“It’s going to be a difficult match, in their country, with their fans. They have great individuals, high-quality players who can decide matches and we have to be at 100 percent.

“We’re not concerned with having one less day of rest [than Marseille]. We asked to play Friday, it’s not possible, we will play Saturday and rest as much as possible to be good for Wednesday. We’re professionals, we’re not going to have any problems.”

On Barcelona’s reported interest in Griezmann:

“It’s difficult but also a point of pride that a team as big as Barcelona wants Antoine. But he is with us, he wants to win this title, he has a contract with Atlético and I’m sure he’ll play a great game Wednesday. Then we’ll see.”

Atletico Madrid v Arsenal FC  - UEFA Europa League Semi Final Second Leg Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images

Diego Costa

On Barcelona’s reported interest in Griezmann:

“Griezmann is big enough to know what he has to do. He knows he’s important, we want him here and it’s his decision.

“If he wants to leave, he knows that there’s no turning back. He knows what to do for him and his family.

“I left and I was happy. It was a new experience and I’m here again. I can’t tell him to leave or to stay. Here he’s an idol, the fans love him.”

Filipe Luís

On working to be available for the final:

“God only knows how hard I’ve worked to be here today.

“For the final I will be available and it makes me very proud to have overcome [a fractured fibula].”

On Barcelona’s reported interest in Griezmann:

“Griezmann is cheap [in this market], it’s the reality. It won’t affect us because we’re not thinking about it. If he leaves he’ll do it after the final, [which] we all want to win.

“The club has shown many things, but it’s not only Griezmann [here]. He has been the most decisive player, but we have helped him to be who he is.”

Diego Godín

On preparing for another European final:

“[Finals] are games with many emotions, with many details. We have to prepare for it in the best way. We have to do our talking on the field and do things in the best way.”

On what makes this final different from others he has played:

“Experience, knowing what it’s like to play in a final, how to live it, what it means. There aren’t many differences beyond that and other matches.”