Atlético playmaker Diego, who has missed his team’s last seven matches through injury, gave an interview at the Vicente Calderón on Tuesday during a promotional event for the club.
It was reported last week that the Brazilian had targeted a return for this weekend’s match at Zaragoza, and while he is back in training doing light workouts with the ball, he is still not certain when he’ll be suiting up again.
“I’m doing very good,” he told reporters huddled around him at Atleti’s stadium.
“In the last three practices I made a great effort. I think I’m close to a return. It’s hard to assure when I’ll be back. We’ll see what the doctor says, but the feelings are good and I have a lot of desire [to play].”
The former Juventus man lamented our loss to Mallorca, but emphasised that many fixtures remain on the schedule.
“The last match was very important, but there are still a lot of points in play,” he said.
“We have to take it game by game. I’m sure we have what it takes to make it to the Champions League. But this is not the time to talk about objectives, it’s the time to talk about the next games, especially the one against Bilbao which will be a very important step.”
He continued: “Against Athletic, it will be a difficult match versus a direct rival. We have to stay focussed to play a great game. Here at the Calderón we are very strong and we are going to try to get the three points.
“It would be spectacular.”
The 27-year-old expressed his admiration for coach Diego Simeone’s management of the current squad mini-crisis.
“Right now, I see the team doing very good,” he said.
“We are doing a spectacular job, the coach especially, because we have a lot of unavailable [players] and difficulties and we are maintaining a very strong rhythm. We have to continue like this to achieve our objectives.”
Diego also praised the work of his fellow team-mates that have been tasked with replacing him in his absence since our trip to Gijón a month ago.
“We need everyone,” he said.
“I think that I am an important player on the team and I want to be present to help in the best way possible, but we have a very strong group and that can be seen right now with the work that everyone is doing: Koke and Toto Salvio, that are playing more or less in the position that I play, are doing a spectacular job.”