Barca this summer tried to tempt the Spain international away from the champions, only for Koke to reject La Blaugrana’s advances and stay at Vicente Calderon.
He has now told an interview with AS that he was at least flattered by Barca’s interest but his desire to remain with Atletico proved stronger.
“The truth is that part of me said it was difficult to say no to Barca but I wanted to continue at home, at the best time for many years at Atletico,” he revealed.
“It wasn’t time to leave. This is my home, where I feel wanted and the club didn’t need to sell. How was I going to leave at the best time for Atletico?
“It’s not easy to say no to Barca and that interest is appreciated. It means the work I’ve done has paid off. But I’m at home.”
A number of players have left Atletico, however, but Koke says he isn’t some sort of standard bearer in the squad because he chose to stay.
“I’m just another player at Atletico, a player who gives everything for his team and does what the Coach asks,” he said.
“I’m not the best or the flagship, the banner. The most important thing to me is to make a better Atletico and be a team player, which is ultimately what matters.
“[The new signings] are great players, they’re all important and I believe they will all contribute a lot to the team.
“They hope to do things right and that is something the Coach values highly.”
Read the original article on Football Espana - The ultimate website for English-speaking fans of Spanish football
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