Atlético midfielder Raúl García opened up to AS in an interview this past weekend. The classy midfielder talked about Atleti’s marvelous start to the 2010-11 campaign.
“It’s very important for the team to have started this way. Personally, it is an honour for me because I played every single minute of the Europa League and the Super Cup,” the Pamplona born midfielder told the Spanish sports newspaper.
“Last season, we didn’t do very well in the league and it was great that we could triumph in another competition. We had a bad time and it was a dream for us all to lift both trophies.”
The team’s inconsistencies in the league last year drove supporters to the brink of insanity.
Just when it would appear that the squad had figured things out and looked to be climbing the table, Atlético would lose their way. So much so that myths of “El Pupas,” or “the jinxed one,” returned; the curse that has haunted the club since its agonising defeat to Bayern Munich in the 1974 European Cup final.
“It has been great for us to win the titles, especially for our confidence.
“We’ve managed to banish the demons that seemed to accompany our emblem and have eliminated the curse of ‘El Pupas,’ Raúl García assured.
Fans and general observers alike have criticised García’s play in the past, with many suggesting that the red and whites should move forward with more promising talent. Asked about his feelings toward his detractors, Raúl responded:
“I have my own opinion about that, and I will keep it to myself. Critics are silenced on the pitch, not off of it.”
The arrival of Tiago from Juventus last season forced the former Osasuna man to sit on the bench for the team’s la Liga fixtures. This year, the Portuguese international is back to threaten García’s spot in the starting XI, but he is not alone.
“It’s not only Tiago, Mario Suárez is also there, and he is doing phenomenally well. So much competition is a positive for the team.
“With regard to me personally, I have a lot of confidence in my ability. I will always fight to be fit to play. From there on out, it’s up to the coach to decide,” García said.
Of the team’s possibilities of winning the Liga title, the former Spanish youth international was optimistic.
“If we remain one hundred percent focused, everything is possible. If in three months we see that we are top of the league, well, we’ll go for it. We have to fight. There’s a lot of quality here.”
Atleti’s next two Liga matches against Athletic Bilbao (away) and Barcelona (home) will be very helpful in gauging where the team stands at the moment. With regard to these difficult opponents, the Basque player said:
“Athletic is strong, but we usually do well in San Mamés. It will be a good test. If we play well in that match and in the one against Barcelona, it will be a good sign that we can aim for big things.”
“This could be our year.”