- Atletico Madrid will meet Real Madrid on Wednesday night (15th August) for UEFA Super Cup match in Estonia
- Former Atletico Madrid captain Gabi talks about his move to Al Sadd in Qatar in a lengthy interview with AS
- Gabi feels that it is important for Atletico to win the Super Cup in order to build momentum ahead of the new season
2017-2018 Europa League winners Atletico Madrid will take on Champions League winners Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday at the A. Le Coq Arena in Estonia. However, Diego Simeone will not have able call upon the services of club veteran Gabi, who this summer signed a 2-year deal with Qatari club Al Sadd SC, the same club where former Barcelona player Xavi Hernandez plays.
Latest Football News: Gabi refused to move to Al Sadd after the initial offer
Gabi, who made over 300 appearances for Atletico Madrid, won the La Liga, Copa Del Rey and Europa League with them. He also captained the side to two UEFA Champions League Finals but unfortunately, his side couldn’t get over the line against their arch-rivals Real Madrid on both the occasions. He sat down with Spanish news outlet AS recently to talk about all things football including his move to Qatar, which has come two years after he had received a massive offer to move to China.
“Yes, I follow everything, every day. And, you know, I suffer more. Before I did not, I was inside, I enjoyed. And he had the ability to help if something happened, to fix it. Now I feel helpless,” Gabi said while talking about his feelings of watching Atletico Madrid after his departure.
Gabi does go to explain further in the interview how former Barcelona player Xavi Hernandez helped him finalize his move to Al Sadd SC and even though the 35-year-old refused the offer at first, the World Cup winners continued persistence and a call a few days later was enough for him to give his nod to a move to the middle-east.
Describing his feelings shortly after giving his approval to Xavi, Gabi says,”I thought: “What have I done with my life?” But I’ve done it for them, for my family. And I’m winning. I am convinced that, if there was a moment to leave, it was this one. Although I leave things to do. It is stuck not having won the Champions. But, you know, the moment I raise it the Athletic one I will have raised it also.”
Speaking about Atletico Madrid’s continued search for Champions League glory, Gabi said,”It is a tremendous pressure for the team. Yes, it seems idyllic, as if everything was prepared. Final in the Metropolitan, this template. But you have to have your feet on the ground. If something defines this team, it is work, day to day. Pushing them with that responsibility is worse.”
Before Atletico Madrid kick off their 2018-2019 La Liga campaign against Valencia on August 19th, they have a small matter of the UEFA Super Cup, which sees them taking on 13-time Champions League winners and their fiercest rivals Real Madrid. As per Gabi, a win for Atletico in this encounter could go a long way in defining their season ahead.
“The Atleti needs to win. Not for Madrid but because it is a push to start the League well. And they’re going to do it, I’m sure. Simeone has prepared the preseason thinking about this game. I know. I have not been but I was in others and I know it,” he said further on.
Latest Football News: Watching Courtois join Real Madrid is weird says, Gabi
There was another very important that Gabi was asked during the course of this interview and that was pertaining to former Atletico Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois moving to city rivals Real Madrid on the English transfer window deadline day. He said,”Well, it hurts. He has played with you, he has won titles, and it’s weird. Yes, that’s it, more than pain, it’s weird. But, you know, I prefer to value what we have at home, those who are really going to be here, and they want this team, the Koke, Saúl, the Juanfran, Godín.”
The summer transfer window has been pretty successful for Atletico Madrid, given that they have managed to hold on Antoine Griezmann and tie him down to a long-term contract, while at the same time bringing in players like Thomas Lemar, Rodri, Nikola Kalinic and Gelson Martins, all of whom should able Diego Simeone’s men to launch a proper title challenge this season alongside the usual suspects Barcelona and Real Madrid.
WATCH: XAVI HERNÁNDEZ | Al-Sadd | Goals, Assists, Skills | 2016/17