Koke: I said no to Barca

2014-10-09 09:42
Lionel Messi (Barcelona) and Koke (Atletico Madrid
Lionel Messi (Barcelona) and Koke (Atletico Madrid) battle it out. Photograph: Gerard Julien - Getty Images.

Cape Town - Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke has revealed he rejected the advances of La Liga rivals Barcelona during the July-August transfer window.

The 22-year-old rose to prominence after helping Los Colchoneros clinch their first Spanish league title in 18 years last season.

Koke also played a crucial role in Atleti's run to the Champions League final, with his goal in the quarter-final, second leg responsible for knocking out Barca.

The Spain international was heavily linked with an exit from the Vicente Calderon in the off-season, but displayed his loyalty to his hometown club by staying put.

Barcelona expressed an interest in signing the Atletico youth product as they view him to be the perfect candidate to replace veteran midfielder Xavi Hernandez.

The capital club subsequently offered him a lucative new long-term contract to ward off any suitors, and Koke insists he never had any intentions of leaving as he wanted to make more history with Diego Simeone's side.

He told El Primer Toque: "You must be thankful for the interest from Barcelona and other teams, but I am happy because I wanted to stay here.

"I have been here [Atletico] all my life and it was not the moment to leave - we are winning everything, the club is growing and we are improving as players. Why would I want to leave at the best moment for Atletico Madrid?"

Read more on:    atletico madrid  |  barcelona  |  la liga  |  koke  |  soccer

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