Atlético goalkeeper Joel Robles, slated to be the club’s starter next year, spoke to AS on Friday.
Likely in response to Atleti manager Gregorio Manzano’s recent comments on Spanish radio station Onda Madrid, in which the coach expressed concerns about his squad’s depth between the sticks, the 21-year-old sent a clear message to his coaching staff.
“We don’t need to sign another goalkeeper from elsewhere,” he said. “We’re all set.”
Joel isn’t troubled by reports claiming Rojiblanco officials are shopping for an additional ‘keeper.
“It’s normal because Asenjo is coming off a serious injury, although he will probably be back soon,” he said.
“It’s likely that speculation about a signing will continue, but I’m not worried. Not only is Sergio here, but there are other great ‘keepers in the cantera.”
The youngster, who appeared in two matches last season for los Colchoneros while spending the entire Liga campaign unused behind starter David de Gea, is looking to convince his boss that he’s ready to step up.
“Neither here nor anywhere else will anything be given to me,” said Joel. “There are excellent goalkeepers here and things will be difficult. I have to work and fight for the job.”
Asked if he will enjoy competing with his buddy Asenjo, Joel replied, “Of course! Only one of us can play. We both have the desire to and will be fighting for the role.”
Weeks back it was suggested the Atleti youth system product would consider leaving the club if a starting ‘keeper was signed, but it appears he may have had a change of heart.
“I want to stay here,” Joel said.
“Whether I stay, or if I leave and join another team, I will have to work just as hard. No one is going to just hand me the job.”
Joel had some kind words for his former cantera mate De Gea, who broke Atleti supporters’ hearts by choosing to leave the club for Manchester United after only a season and a half at the Vicente Calderón.
“He made a decision and Atlético fans should respect it,” he said. “He has gone to one of the best clubs in the world. For a kid that young, it’s a big leap. I’m happy for him.
“I will have to win the same respect from the fans on the field.”
When asked if sporting director Jose Luis Caminero has assured him of a spot in the starting XI for our upcoming campaign, Joel responded, “The day he was formally presented he said that the cantera was going to be important, and that Atleti is relying on us.
“He has let me know that they are counting on me, but I have to prove my worth.”
Finally, the Spain youth international gave his opinion on the Sergio Agüero situation.
“It’s totally normal that a player of his level is coveted by a lot of teams,” he said. “I’m not worried. I think that both he and Forlán will stay. They will come back after the Copa América. If they do decide to go, it’s Atlético’s job to decide who to sign.
“It would be a big deal if Kun marches off to Real Madrid though. I would wish him luck, but I’m sure that he won’t be successful against us.”