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Hermoso: “LaLiga title was the appetizer”

Atlético’s center-back has given a new interview to AS.

Club Atletico de Madrid v FC Barcelona - LaLiga Santander Photo by Berengui/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Madrid daily AS published a new interview with Mario Hermoso on Tuesday, in which the Atlético Madrid defender insisted winning the league in May was just the start for this rojiblanco squad.

“I’m very satisfied, very happy,” Hermoso said. “I would not change the decision I made to come here.

“(The league title) is an appetizer. All of us who make up Atlético are more hungry to continue growing,” he continued. “We know we have the potential for more, we have done it already, and with the philosophy and mentality of working every day to improve, the team has no ceiling.

“The league title has awakened something within us that makes us want more.”

Surely, Hermoso’s confidence has been buoyed following the two pre-international break results at San Siro against Milan and at the Wanda Metropolitano against Barcelona. The 26-year-old, now in his third season with Atlético, explained that the fans’ support — particularly during the win over Barça — only makes the squad stronger.

“When you get together in a stadium like (the Metropolitano), with a crowd like that, it’s always exciting,” Hermoso said. “Seeing the fans return…our people guide us, they drive us through all the help they provide us from the stands. To see it like that is very nice.”

Club Atletico de Madrid v FC Barcelona - LaLiga Santander Photo by Berengui/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Hermoso, who graduated from Real Madrid’s academy, also said playing for Atlético is “something special,” a sensation he’s felt after 70 appearances under Diego Simeone.

Most of my friends and relatives support Atlético,” Hermoso said. “I grew up watching their games and spending those days around the Vicente Calderón.

“I don’t know, it’s something special. I tell people that in difficult situations there is that feeling of drive, of communion with the Atlético fans...they always give everything for the team, as we would do for them.”

Hermoso was also asked about his exclusion from recent Spain squads despite his improvement as a player and a clear need for a reliable ball-playing center-back in Luis Enrique’s defense.

“I was lucky enough to go to the national team with Espanyol, then I went once with Atlético,” Hermoso said. “The coach is the one who makes the decisions. There is a great assortment of players to choose from, which is a good thing.

The main thing is our club, where we spend more time, where we train, improve, and where we aspire to important achievements.”