‘Who needs megastars, we have team spirit’
Felipe Luis believes Atletico can overcome Europe’s elite
F ilipe Luis insists that his teammates’ willingness to fight for one another and a lack of ego in the dressing room will help Atletico Madrid overcome Europe’s big spenders and land a first ever Champions League title.
Atletico shocked Spanish rivals Barcelona in the quarter-finals and now face another of Europe’s most powerful clubs in Bayern Munich.
The German champions are the fifth richest football club in the world - according to a recent report by Deloitte - and have a squad littered with superstars.
Yet Luis believes Atletico can cause another upset and reach a third European Cup final.
“We don’t have a megastar, we have a team where everyone runs, everyone fights for the player next to them, and that makes us stronger,” said Luis.
“The team thinks a lot collectively, nobody thinks individually, that’s the most positive things that we have.
“We’ve had a lot of bad and good moments in the season and now we are stable, we have players who are getting better and better.
“Look at what is happening this year with Leicester, they are a modest team and are almost champions in the Premier League. Epic things happen in football. Although there’s a difference in our budgets we are the team that plays most as a team.”
One player who knows exactly how tough it will be to overcome Atletico is Bayern’s former Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso.
The 34-year-old expects two tight games but made it clear that Bayern will be looking to claim an advantage by going for the win in the first-leg of the semi-final at the Vicente Calderon.
“I think it’s going to be an evenly balanced match,” said Alonso. “Atletico are among the European footballing elite. If we’re not 100 percent ready it’ll be difficult to go through.
“The defence is clearly one of their strengths, but it’s not only that. Atletico know how to play football and are very dangerous in attack.
“We have to be clever. We know that we’ll play at least 180 minutes, but we won’t play for a draw in Madrid. It’s our mentality to go for a win.”