Interview

Llorente dreaming big

As Atlético de Madrid prepare to face Leipzig, Marcos Llorente says he’ll “never lose hope again” after scoring two extra-time goals to help knock out Liverpool in the round of 16

Let’s go back to your last Champions League game, at Anfield in March. You’re sat on the bench, and Diego Simeone puts you on in the 56th minute. What went through your mind at that moment?

Well, we had to change things. Never for a minute did I think that I’d score two goals, I just went on intending to help the team however I could. Everything ended fantastically, it was an incredible night and I was really happy with how everything went.

Tell us a little bit about your reaction and your emotions during and after the game.

Well, during the game, I couldn’t really believe it. We were losing 1-0, 2-0, the team were in deep trouble and there wasn’t really much hope. But in the end, thanks to everyone’s efforts, we managed to turn the game around. With my two goals... I’m not used to scoring so, for me, it was unthinkable. Not even in my wildest dreams did I imagine a night like that, so afterwards I was so happy to have beaten Liverpool and gone through to the next round. It gave us a huge amount of confidence.

Did you lose all hope when Roberto Firmino scored Liverpool’s second in extra-time?

No, and I think after what happened that night, I’ll never lose hope again. It’s true that after the second goal, you think you have less of a chance of going through. They didn’t stop attacking and pinning us back, and so it’s true that we were losing hope. But with the first goal I realised that we could hurt them even more and create more chances. Then the second and the third came and we managed to pull it back from being 2-0 down, which was almost impossible.

And then you scored two quick goals. Let’s talk about the first – what do you remember about it?

Well, I remember I lost the ball from a bad pass and so I went to close them down quickly. The goalkeeper, Adrián, made a mistake and didn’t clear the ball well. João [Félix] controlled it, I shouted for it because I was unmarked. He passed it to me, I controlled it and then shot. Fortunately, I ended up scoring and this gave us a huge boost to keep working, and keep fighting, in what was such a difficult match.  

Marcos Llorente arriving in Lisbon with his team-mates


What about the second one?

The second, I got it back in our area and [Álvaro] Morata and I came out up the pitch as fast as we could. And it was just us two, because the rest of the team were completely exhausted because they’d spent so much time running and working hard throughout the game. Morata gave the ball to me, slightly behind me, and I saw that no one was coming and thought I had to do it myself. And, thank God, it worked out spectacularly. I controlled it just before the defence arrived, I took the shot and it was an incredible goal. And as I said before, I could never have imagined it like that.

Are they the most important goals of your career?

Yes, definitely.

There was then a break in the season due to the Covid-19 pandemic. What was that like for you and your team-mates?

We all found it very hard. We had to train a lot at home. It’s difficult not having the necessary means to do it. But what was happening outside also affected us. But it’s true that by leaving the Champions League in those circumstances, after beating and knocking Liverpool out, we went into quarantine a little happier.  

Since you’ve returned to action, Atlético have played 11 matches, winning seven and drawing the other four. How do you and your team feel at the moment?

The team has shown that it’s come back from the break very well, and that it can cause problems for any team. We’ve had an incredible restart, winning a lot of points and finishing third in the league. Personally, I feel very good and I think there’s a very good feeling around the team. I think we have to make the most of this positive atmosphere that we currently have and give it our all next week. 

Your next match is against Leipzig. What are your thoughts on that game?

A difficult opponent. Very difficult. They’ve had a great season in their domestic league. They also knocked Tottenham out 4-0. It’s clear that they’re a very strong team, very young, with high hopes. So, it’s going to be a difficult match, like all matches in this competition. And even more so as you get close to the final. Every team is there to win. 

How do you feel about coming to Lisbon?

We’re praying we get to the final there. On top of that, it’s like a tournament of three matches to get to the final where each match is played in a single leg, and I think reaching it would be very exciting. And anything could happen. It could be even more exciting because whoever’s at their best will go through. We can go as far as we want to. We’ve already shown that we can beat any team. It’s going to be very difficult, but we want to take it step by step, thinking about the first match, which is going to be very difficult.

You can get your copy of the 72-page Official Portugal 2020 Tournament Guide now on our sister site european-nights.com. While you are there, why not pre-order your official 2020 UEFA Champions League final programme? Both the Guide and Programme are available in print or digital.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Let’s go back to your last Champions League game, at Anfield in March. You’re sat on the bench, and Diego Simeone puts you on in the 56th minute. What went through your mind at that moment?

Well, we had to change things. Never for a minute did I think that I’d score two goals, I just went on intending to help the team however I could. Everything ended fantastically, it was an incredible night and I was really happy with how everything went.

Tell us a little bit about your reaction and your emotions during and after the game.

Well, during the game, I couldn’t really believe it. We were losing 1-0, 2-0, the team were in deep trouble and there wasn’t really much hope. But in the end, thanks to everyone’s efforts, we managed to turn the game around. With my two goals... I’m not used to scoring so, for me, it was unthinkable. Not even in my wildest dreams did I imagine a night like that, so afterwards I was so happy to have beaten Liverpool and gone through to the next round. It gave us a huge amount of confidence.

Did you lose all hope when Roberto Firmino scored Liverpool’s second in extra-time?

No, and I think after what happened that night, I’ll never lose hope again. It’s true that after the second goal, you think you have less of a chance of going through. They didn’t stop attacking and pinning us back, and so it’s true that we were losing hope. But with the first goal I realised that we could hurt them even more and create more chances. Then the second and the third came and we managed to pull it back from being 2-0 down, which was almost impossible.

And then you scored two quick goals. Let’s talk about the first – what do you remember about it?

Well, I remember I lost the ball from a bad pass and so I went to close them down quickly. The goalkeeper, Adrián, made a mistake and didn’t clear the ball well. João [Félix] controlled it, I shouted for it because I was unmarked. He passed it to me, I controlled it and then shot. Fortunately, I ended up scoring and this gave us a huge boost to keep working, and keep fighting, in what was such a difficult match.  

Marcos Llorente arriving in Lisbon with his team-mates


What about the second one?

The second, I got it back in our area and [Álvaro] Morata and I came out up the pitch as fast as we could. And it was just us two, because the rest of the team were completely exhausted because they’d spent so much time running and working hard throughout the game. Morata gave the ball to me, slightly behind me, and I saw that no one was coming and thought I had to do it myself. And, thank God, it worked out spectacularly. I controlled it just before the defence arrived, I took the shot and it was an incredible goal. And as I said before, I could never have imagined it like that.

Are they the most important goals of your career?

Yes, definitely.

There was then a break in the season due to the Covid-19 pandemic. What was that like for you and your team-mates?

We all found it very hard. We had to train a lot at home. It’s difficult not having the necessary means to do it. But what was happening outside also affected us. But it’s true that by leaving the Champions League in those circumstances, after beating and knocking Liverpool out, we went into quarantine a little happier.  

Since you’ve returned to action, Atlético have played 11 matches, winning seven and drawing the other four. How do you and your team feel at the moment?

The team has shown that it’s come back from the break very well, and that it can cause problems for any team. We’ve had an incredible restart, winning a lot of points and finishing third in the league. Personally, I feel very good and I think there’s a very good feeling around the team. I think we have to make the most of this positive atmosphere that we currently have and give it our all next week. 

Your next match is against Leipzig. What are your thoughts on that game?

A difficult opponent. Very difficult. They’ve had a great season in their domestic league. They also knocked Tottenham out 4-0. It’s clear that they’re a very strong team, very young, with high hopes. So, it’s going to be a difficult match, like all matches in this competition. And even more so as you get close to the final. Every team is there to win. 

How do you feel about coming to Lisbon?

We’re praying we get to the final there. On top of that, it’s like a tournament of three matches to get to the final where each match is played in a single leg, and I think reaching it would be very exciting. And anything could happen. It could be even more exciting because whoever’s at their best will go through. We can go as far as we want to. We’ve already shown that we can beat any team. It’s going to be very difficult, but we want to take it step by step, thinking about the first match, which is going to be very difficult.

You can get your copy of the 72-page Official Portugal 2020 Tournament Guide now on our sister site european-nights.com. While you are there, why not pre-order your official 2020 UEFA Champions League final programme? Both the Guide and Programme are available in print or digital.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

Let’s go back to your last Champions League game, at Anfield in March. You’re sat on the bench, and Diego Simeone puts you on in the 56th minute. What went through your mind at that moment?

Well, we had to change things. Never for a minute did I think that I’d score two goals, I just went on intending to help the team however I could. Everything ended fantastically, it was an incredible night and I was really happy with how everything went.

Tell us a little bit about your reaction and your emotions during and after the game.

Well, during the game, I couldn’t really believe it. We were losing 1-0, 2-0, the team were in deep trouble and there wasn’t really much hope. But in the end, thanks to everyone’s efforts, we managed to turn the game around. With my two goals... I’m not used to scoring so, for me, it was unthinkable. Not even in my wildest dreams did I imagine a night like that, so afterwards I was so happy to have beaten Liverpool and gone through to the next round. It gave us a huge amount of confidence.

Did you lose all hope when Roberto Firmino scored Liverpool’s second in extra-time?

No, and I think after what happened that night, I’ll never lose hope again. It’s true that after the second goal, you think you have less of a chance of going through. They didn’t stop attacking and pinning us back, and so it’s true that we were losing hope. But with the first goal I realised that we could hurt them even more and create more chances. Then the second and the third came and we managed to pull it back from being 2-0 down, which was almost impossible.

And then you scored two quick goals. Let’s talk about the first – what do you remember about it?

Well, I remember I lost the ball from a bad pass and so I went to close them down quickly. The goalkeeper, Adrián, made a mistake and didn’t clear the ball well. João [Félix] controlled it, I shouted for it because I was unmarked. He passed it to me, I controlled it and then shot. Fortunately, I ended up scoring and this gave us a huge boost to keep working, and keep fighting, in what was such a difficult match.  

Marcos Llorente arriving in Lisbon with his team-mates


What about the second one?

The second, I got it back in our area and [Álvaro] Morata and I came out up the pitch as fast as we could. And it was just us two, because the rest of the team were completely exhausted because they’d spent so much time running and working hard throughout the game. Morata gave the ball to me, slightly behind me, and I saw that no one was coming and thought I had to do it myself. And, thank God, it worked out spectacularly. I controlled it just before the defence arrived, I took the shot and it was an incredible goal. And as I said before, I could never have imagined it like that.

Are they the most important goals of your career?

Yes, definitely.

There was then a break in the season due to the Covid-19 pandemic. What was that like for you and your team-mates?

We all found it very hard. We had to train a lot at home. It’s difficult not having the necessary means to do it. But what was happening outside also affected us. But it’s true that by leaving the Champions League in those circumstances, after beating and knocking Liverpool out, we went into quarantine a little happier.  

Since you’ve returned to action, Atlético have played 11 matches, winning seven and drawing the other four. How do you and your team feel at the moment?

The team has shown that it’s come back from the break very well, and that it can cause problems for any team. We’ve had an incredible restart, winning a lot of points and finishing third in the league. Personally, I feel very good and I think there’s a very good feeling around the team. I think we have to make the most of this positive atmosphere that we currently have and give it our all next week. 

Your next match is against Leipzig. What are your thoughts on that game?

A difficult opponent. Very difficult. They’ve had a great season in their domestic league. They also knocked Tottenham out 4-0. It’s clear that they’re a very strong team, very young, with high hopes. So, it’s going to be a difficult match, like all matches in this competition. And even more so as you get close to the final. Every team is there to win. 

How do you feel about coming to Lisbon?

We’re praying we get to the final there. On top of that, it’s like a tournament of three matches to get to the final where each match is played in a single leg, and I think reaching it would be very exciting. And anything could happen. It could be even more exciting because whoever’s at their best will go through. We can go as far as we want to. We’ve already shown that we can beat any team. It’s going to be very difficult, but we want to take it step by step, thinking about the first match, which is going to be very difficult.

You can get your copy of the 72-page Official Portugal 2020 Tournament Guide now on our sister site european-nights.com. While you are there, why not pre-order your official 2020 UEFA Champions League final programme? Both the Guide and Programme are available in print or digital.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Interview

Llorente dreaming big

As Atlético de Madrid prepare to face Leipzig, Marcos Llorente says he’ll “never lose hope again” after scoring two extra-time goals to help knock out Liverpool in the round of 16

Let’s go back to your last Champions League game, at Anfield in March. You’re sat on the bench, and Diego Simeone puts you on in the 56th minute. What went through your mind at that moment?

Well, we had to change things. Never for a minute did I think that I’d score two goals, I just went on intending to help the team however I could. Everything ended fantastically, it was an incredible night and I was really happy with how everything went.

Tell us a little bit about your reaction and your emotions during and after the game.

Well, during the game, I couldn’t really believe it. We were losing 1-0, 2-0, the team were in deep trouble and there wasn’t really much hope. But in the end, thanks to everyone’s efforts, we managed to turn the game around. With my two goals... I’m not used to scoring so, for me, it was unthinkable. Not even in my wildest dreams did I imagine a night like that, so afterwards I was so happy to have beaten Liverpool and gone through to the next round. It gave us a huge amount of confidence.

Did you lose all hope when Roberto Firmino scored Liverpool’s second in extra-time?

No, and I think after what happened that night, I’ll never lose hope again. It’s true that after the second goal, you think you have less of a chance of going through. They didn’t stop attacking and pinning us back, and so it’s true that we were losing hope. But with the first goal I realised that we could hurt them even more and create more chances. Then the second and the third came and we managed to pull it back from being 2-0 down, which was almost impossible.

And then you scored two quick goals. Let’s talk about the first – what do you remember about it?

Well, I remember I lost the ball from a bad pass and so I went to close them down quickly. The goalkeeper, Adrián, made a mistake and didn’t clear the ball well. João [Félix] controlled it, I shouted for it because I was unmarked. He passed it to me, I controlled it and then shot. Fortunately, I ended up scoring and this gave us a huge boost to keep working, and keep fighting, in what was such a difficult match.  

Marcos Llorente arriving in Lisbon with his team-mates


What about the second one?

The second, I got it back in our area and [Álvaro] Morata and I came out up the pitch as fast as we could. And it was just us two, because the rest of the team were completely exhausted because they’d spent so much time running and working hard throughout the game. Morata gave the ball to me, slightly behind me, and I saw that no one was coming and thought I had to do it myself. And, thank God, it worked out spectacularly. I controlled it just before the defence arrived, I took the shot and it was an incredible goal. And as I said before, I could never have imagined it like that.

Are they the most important goals of your career?

Yes, definitely.

There was then a break in the season due to the Covid-19 pandemic. What was that like for you and your team-mates?

We all found it very hard. We had to train a lot at home. It’s difficult not having the necessary means to do it. But what was happening outside also affected us. But it’s true that by leaving the Champions League in those circumstances, after beating and knocking Liverpool out, we went into quarantine a little happier.  

Since you’ve returned to action, Atlético have played 11 matches, winning seven and drawing the other four. How do you and your team feel at the moment?

The team has shown that it’s come back from the break very well, and that it can cause problems for any team. We’ve had an incredible restart, winning a lot of points and finishing third in the league. Personally, I feel very good and I think there’s a very good feeling around the team. I think we have to make the most of this positive atmosphere that we currently have and give it our all next week. 

Your next match is against Leipzig. What are your thoughts on that game?

A difficult opponent. Very difficult. They’ve had a great season in their domestic league. They also knocked Tottenham out 4-0. It’s clear that they’re a very strong team, very young, with high hopes. So, it’s going to be a difficult match, like all matches in this competition. And even more so as you get close to the final. Every team is there to win. 

How do you feel about coming to Lisbon?

We’re praying we get to the final there. On top of that, it’s like a tournament of three matches to get to the final where each match is played in a single leg, and I think reaching it would be very exciting. And anything could happen. It could be even more exciting because whoever’s at their best will go through. We can go as far as we want to. We’ve already shown that we can beat any team. It’s going to be very difficult, but we want to take it step by step, thinking about the first match, which is going to be very difficult.

You can get your copy of the 72-page Official Portugal 2020 Tournament Guide now on our sister site european-nights.com. While you are there, why not pre-order your official 2020 UEFA Champions League final programme? Both the Guide and Programme are available in print or digital.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Let’s go back to your last Champions League game, at Anfield in March. You’re sat on the bench, and Diego Simeone puts you on in the 56th minute. What went through your mind at that moment?

Well, we had to change things. Never for a minute did I think that I’d score two goals, I just went on intending to help the team however I could. Everything ended fantastically, it was an incredible night and I was really happy with how everything went.

Tell us a little bit about your reaction and your emotions during and after the game.

Well, during the game, I couldn’t really believe it. We were losing 1-0, 2-0, the team were in deep trouble and there wasn’t really much hope. But in the end, thanks to everyone’s efforts, we managed to turn the game around. With my two goals... I’m not used to scoring so, for me, it was unthinkable. Not even in my wildest dreams did I imagine a night like that, so afterwards I was so happy to have beaten Liverpool and gone through to the next round. It gave us a huge amount of confidence.

Did you lose all hope when Roberto Firmino scored Liverpool’s second in extra-time?

No, and I think after what happened that night, I’ll never lose hope again. It’s true that after the second goal, you think you have less of a chance of going through. They didn’t stop attacking and pinning us back, and so it’s true that we were losing hope. But with the first goal I realised that we could hurt them even more and create more chances. Then the second and the third came and we managed to pull it back from being 2-0 down, which was almost impossible.

And then you scored two quick goals. Let’s talk about the first – what do you remember about it?

Well, I remember I lost the ball from a bad pass and so I went to close them down quickly. The goalkeeper, Adrián, made a mistake and didn’t clear the ball well. João [Félix] controlled it, I shouted for it because I was unmarked. He passed it to me, I controlled it and then shot. Fortunately, I ended up scoring and this gave us a huge boost to keep working, and keep fighting, in what was such a difficult match.  

Marcos Llorente arriving in Lisbon with his team-mates


What about the second one?

The second, I got it back in our area and [Álvaro] Morata and I came out up the pitch as fast as we could. And it was just us two, because the rest of the team were completely exhausted because they’d spent so much time running and working hard throughout the game. Morata gave the ball to me, slightly behind me, and I saw that no one was coming and thought I had to do it myself. And, thank God, it worked out spectacularly. I controlled it just before the defence arrived, I took the shot and it was an incredible goal. And as I said before, I could never have imagined it like that.

Are they the most important goals of your career?

Yes, definitely.

There was then a break in the season due to the Covid-19 pandemic. What was that like for you and your team-mates?

We all found it very hard. We had to train a lot at home. It’s difficult not having the necessary means to do it. But what was happening outside also affected us. But it’s true that by leaving the Champions League in those circumstances, after beating and knocking Liverpool out, we went into quarantine a little happier.  

Since you’ve returned to action, Atlético have played 11 matches, winning seven and drawing the other four. How do you and your team feel at the moment?

The team has shown that it’s come back from the break very well, and that it can cause problems for any team. We’ve had an incredible restart, winning a lot of points and finishing third in the league. Personally, I feel very good and I think there’s a very good feeling around the team. I think we have to make the most of this positive atmosphere that we currently have and give it our all next week. 

Your next match is against Leipzig. What are your thoughts on that game?

A difficult opponent. Very difficult. They’ve had a great season in their domestic league. They also knocked Tottenham out 4-0. It’s clear that they’re a very strong team, very young, with high hopes. So, it’s going to be a difficult match, like all matches in this competition. And even more so as you get close to the final. Every team is there to win. 

How do you feel about coming to Lisbon?

We’re praying we get to the final there. On top of that, it’s like a tournament of three matches to get to the final where each match is played in a single leg, and I think reaching it would be very exciting. And anything could happen. It could be even more exciting because whoever’s at their best will go through. We can go as far as we want to. We’ve already shown that we can beat any team. It’s going to be very difficult, but we want to take it step by step, thinking about the first match, which is going to be very difficult.

You can get your copy of the 72-page Official Portugal 2020 Tournament Guide now on our sister site european-nights.com. While you are there, why not pre-order your official 2020 UEFA Champions League final programme? Both the Guide and Programme are available in print or digital.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

Let’s go back to your last Champions League game, at Anfield in March. You’re sat on the bench, and Diego Simeone puts you on in the 56th minute. What went through your mind at that moment?

Well, we had to change things. Never for a minute did I think that I’d score two goals, I just went on intending to help the team however I could. Everything ended fantastically, it was an incredible night and I was really happy with how everything went.

Tell us a little bit about your reaction and your emotions during and after the game.

Well, during the game, I couldn’t really believe it. We were losing 1-0, 2-0, the team were in deep trouble and there wasn’t really much hope. But in the end, thanks to everyone’s efforts, we managed to turn the game around. With my two goals... I’m not used to scoring so, for me, it was unthinkable. Not even in my wildest dreams did I imagine a night like that, so afterwards I was so happy to have beaten Liverpool and gone through to the next round. It gave us a huge amount of confidence.

Did you lose all hope when Roberto Firmino scored Liverpool’s second in extra-time?

No, and I think after what happened that night, I’ll never lose hope again. It’s true that after the second goal, you think you have less of a chance of going through. They didn’t stop attacking and pinning us back, and so it’s true that we were losing hope. But with the first goal I realised that we could hurt them even more and create more chances. Then the second and the third came and we managed to pull it back from being 2-0 down, which was almost impossible.

And then you scored two quick goals. Let’s talk about the first – what do you remember about it?

Well, I remember I lost the ball from a bad pass and so I went to close them down quickly. The goalkeeper, Adrián, made a mistake and didn’t clear the ball well. João [Félix] controlled it, I shouted for it because I was unmarked. He passed it to me, I controlled it and then shot. Fortunately, I ended up scoring and this gave us a huge boost to keep working, and keep fighting, in what was such a difficult match.  

Marcos Llorente arriving in Lisbon with his team-mates


What about the second one?

The second, I got it back in our area and [Álvaro] Morata and I came out up the pitch as fast as we could. And it was just us two, because the rest of the team were completely exhausted because they’d spent so much time running and working hard throughout the game. Morata gave the ball to me, slightly behind me, and I saw that no one was coming and thought I had to do it myself. And, thank God, it worked out spectacularly. I controlled it just before the defence arrived, I took the shot and it was an incredible goal. And as I said before, I could never have imagined it like that.

Are they the most important goals of your career?

Yes, definitely.

There was then a break in the season due to the Covid-19 pandemic. What was that like for you and your team-mates?

We all found it very hard. We had to train a lot at home. It’s difficult not having the necessary means to do it. But what was happening outside also affected us. But it’s true that by leaving the Champions League in those circumstances, after beating and knocking Liverpool out, we went into quarantine a little happier.  

Since you’ve returned to action, Atlético have played 11 matches, winning seven and drawing the other four. How do you and your team feel at the moment?

The team has shown that it’s come back from the break very well, and that it can cause problems for any team. We’ve had an incredible restart, winning a lot of points and finishing third in the league. Personally, I feel very good and I think there’s a very good feeling around the team. I think we have to make the most of this positive atmosphere that we currently have and give it our all next week. 

Your next match is against Leipzig. What are your thoughts on that game?

A difficult opponent. Very difficult. They’ve had a great season in their domestic league. They also knocked Tottenham out 4-0. It’s clear that they’re a very strong team, very young, with high hopes. So, it’s going to be a difficult match, like all matches in this competition. And even more so as you get close to the final. Every team is there to win. 

How do you feel about coming to Lisbon?

We’re praying we get to the final there. On top of that, it’s like a tournament of three matches to get to the final where each match is played in a single leg, and I think reaching it would be very exciting. And anything could happen. It could be even more exciting because whoever’s at their best will go through. We can go as far as we want to. We’ve already shown that we can beat any team. It’s going to be very difficult, but we want to take it step by step, thinking about the first match, which is going to be very difficult.

You can get your copy of the 72-page Official Portugal 2020 Tournament Guide now on our sister site european-nights.com. While you are there, why not pre-order your official 2020 UEFA Champions League final programme? Both the Guide and Programme are available in print or digital.

Penalty Pedigree

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