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Interview

Playing the field

Ahead of his side’s second leg against Manchester United, Marcos Llorente sits down with Champions Journal to discuss the round of 16, being Atlético’s utility man and a dog called Anfield

How do you deal with the pressure in big games?

I like it when things are tough and my opponent is stronger. For example, when I’ve played matches at full-back, I’ve enjoyed going up against Vinícius Júnior – or Luis Díaz, when he was at Porto. Those kinds of situations give me more motivation and make me concentrate more. Some players may prefer not to go up against those kinds of opponents, but in those situations I set myself challenges; for example, shutting down a very good, very fast winger who can throw your balance. That’s something I really enjoy.

The second leg of your tie against Manchester United is at Old Trafford. Where would you rank English fans in comparison to Spanish?

Well, for example, I think our fans are much better than a lot of fans in Spain. I think England has some of the best fans… I think every team has good fans. I think football is a big part of life there [in England], there’s a lot of passion. When I watch the matches on TV or watch videos of the goals, the atmosphere looks incredible. I think England, in terms of fans, if it isn’t number one, it’s number two.

Will you use the experience of beating Liverpool in the knockout stage in England in 2020?

Absolutely. It’s also what we’ve talked about. It was a very, very difficult situation – and I like those types of situations. That day, I came on and was chomping at the bit. Perhaps if we’d been winning 2-0 then I would have come on with a totally different mindset. For me, to have that challenge made it easier – I don’t know why.

Marcos Llorente has experience when it comes to knockout games in England

What are the qualities needed to play multiple positions across the pitch, as Diego Simeone often asks you to do?

A high level of fitness allows you to succeed in playing in different positions, as long as you’re tactically sound with the position. In my case, my high level of fitness, coupled with my speed and stamina, allows me to play as a full-back, a wing-back, or in attacking spaces as a central midfielder – and perform at a good level in each one.

How important is positioning when it comes to playing in attacking midfield?

Getting into the box from midfield is about joining the play as the ball is spread out wide and looking to get into the box to get on the end of a cross. Whereas finding space, given that teams nowadays are set up well tactically, if you are static then it’s very difficult to find space and put the opposition on the back foot and create chances. Ultimately, finding space is not about waiting for the opposition to give you the space to exploit. It’s about the space you attack with your runs that allows the striker to get into a better position to receive the ball or a teammate to occupy the space you just left free. For me, that’s a crucial skill. And if you have players in your team with that ability, it just adds to your team’s overall threat.

What’s the difference between attacking and defensive instincts on the pitch?

I’ve spent my whole career defending, winning the ball back, stopping counterattacks. It’s true that in the past 18 months or so I’ve played higher up the pitch, and even I was surprised at the number of goals I scored and assists I made. I think that in order to be able to do those sorts of things, you need ambition and confidence: you need to have a desire to score a goal, a desire to attack spaces. Ultimately, there are many times when a player doesn’t have confidence in a teammate, or belief when his team is building an attack, and the move ends up breaking down and they end up failing to get a shot on goal. So, to score goals, I think having that confidence and ambition are absolutely key.

And now the final and, arguably, most importantly question: is it true that your mum has a small dog called Anfield?

That’s right. During lockdown, I gave a dog to my mum. My mum suffers a lot with my games; she gets very nervous. And our game against Liverpool in 2020 stayed with her; the same as with me and many other people. It was a great moment for her, for me and for the family. As a way to remember it forever she thought, “Heck, I’m going to name the dog Anfield.” She thought it would be a very nice memory for all of us.

How do you deal with the pressure in big games?

I like it when things are tough and my opponent is stronger. For example, when I’ve played matches at full-back, I’ve enjoyed going up against Vinícius Júnior – or Luis Díaz, when he was at Porto. Those kinds of situations give me more motivation and make me concentrate more. Some players may prefer not to go up against those kinds of opponents, but in those situations I set myself challenges; for example, shutting down a very good, very fast winger who can throw your balance. That’s something I really enjoy.

The second leg of your tie against Manchester United is at Old Trafford. Where would you rank English fans in comparison to Spanish?

Well, for example, I think our fans are much better than a lot of fans in Spain. I think England has some of the best fans… I think every team has good fans. I think football is a big part of life there [in England], there’s a lot of passion. When I watch the matches on TV or watch videos of the goals, the atmosphere looks incredible. I think England, in terms of fans, if it isn’t number one, it’s number two.

Will you use the experience of beating Liverpool in the knockout stage in England in 2020?

Absolutely. It’s also what we’ve talked about. It was a very, very difficult situation – and I like those types of situations. That day, I came on and was chomping at the bit. Perhaps if we’d been winning 2-0 then I would have come on with a totally different mindset. For me, to have that challenge made it easier – I don’t know why.

Marcos Llorente has experience when it comes to knockout games in England

What are the qualities needed to play multiple positions across the pitch, as Diego Simeone often asks you to do?

A high level of fitness allows you to succeed in playing in different positions, as long as you’re tactically sound with the position. In my case, my high level of fitness, coupled with my speed and stamina, allows me to play as a full-back, a wing-back, or in attacking spaces as a central midfielder – and perform at a good level in each one.

How important is positioning when it comes to playing in attacking midfield?

Getting into the box from midfield is about joining the play as the ball is spread out wide and looking to get into the box to get on the end of a cross. Whereas finding space, given that teams nowadays are set up well tactically, if you are static then it’s very difficult to find space and put the opposition on the back foot and create chances. Ultimately, finding space is not about waiting for the opposition to give you the space to exploit. It’s about the space you attack with your runs that allows the striker to get into a better position to receive the ball or a teammate to occupy the space you just left free. For me, that’s a crucial skill. And if you have players in your team with that ability, it just adds to your team’s overall threat.

What’s the difference between attacking and defensive instincts on the pitch?

I’ve spent my whole career defending, winning the ball back, stopping counterattacks. It’s true that in the past 18 months or so I’ve played higher up the pitch, and even I was surprised at the number of goals I scored and assists I made. I think that in order to be able to do those sorts of things, you need ambition and confidence: you need to have a desire to score a goal, a desire to attack spaces. Ultimately, there are many times when a player doesn’t have confidence in a teammate, or belief when his team is building an attack, and the move ends up breaking down and they end up failing to get a shot on goal. So, to score goals, I think having that confidence and ambition are absolutely key.

And now the final and, arguably, most importantly question: is it true that your mum has a small dog called Anfield?

That’s right. During lockdown, I gave a dog to my mum. My mum suffers a lot with my games; she gets very nervous. And our game against Liverpool in 2020 stayed with her; the same as with me and many other people. It was a great moment for her, for me and for the family. As a way to remember it forever she thought, “Heck, I’m going to name the dog Anfield.” She thought it would be a very nice memory for all of us.

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!

How do you deal with the pressure in big games?

I like it when things are tough and my opponent is stronger. For example, when I’ve played matches at full-back, I’ve enjoyed going up against Vinícius Júnior – or Luis Díaz, when he was at Porto. Those kinds of situations give me more motivation and make me concentrate more. Some players may prefer not to go up against those kinds of opponents, but in those situations I set myself challenges; for example, shutting down a very good, very fast winger who can throw your balance. That’s something I really enjoy.

The second leg of your tie against Manchester United is at Old Trafford. Where would you rank English fans in comparison to Spanish?

Well, for example, I think our fans are much better than a lot of fans in Spain. I think England has some of the best fans… I think every team has good fans. I think football is a big part of life there [in England], there’s a lot of passion. When I watch the matches on TV or watch videos of the goals, the atmosphere looks incredible. I think England, in terms of fans, if it isn’t number one, it’s number two.

Will you use the experience of beating Liverpool in the knockout stage in England in 2020?

Absolutely. It’s also what we’ve talked about. It was a very, very difficult situation – and I like those types of situations. That day, I came on and was chomping at the bit. Perhaps if we’d been winning 2-0 then I would have come on with a totally different mindset. For me, to have that challenge made it easier – I don’t know why.

Marcos Llorente has experience when it comes to knockout games in England

What are the qualities needed to play multiple positions across the pitch, as Diego Simeone often asks you to do?

A high level of fitness allows you to succeed in playing in different positions, as long as you’re tactically sound with the position. In my case, my high level of fitness, coupled with my speed and stamina, allows me to play as a full-back, a wing-back, or in attacking spaces as a central midfielder – and perform at a good level in each one.

How important is positioning when it comes to playing in attacking midfield?

Getting into the box from midfield is about joining the play as the ball is spread out wide and looking to get into the box to get on the end of a cross. Whereas finding space, given that teams nowadays are set up well tactically, if you are static then it’s very difficult to find space and put the opposition on the back foot and create chances. Ultimately, finding space is not about waiting for the opposition to give you the space to exploit. It’s about the space you attack with your runs that allows the striker to get into a better position to receive the ball or a teammate to occupy the space you just left free. For me, that’s a crucial skill. And if you have players in your team with that ability, it just adds to your team’s overall threat.

What’s the difference between attacking and defensive instincts on the pitch?

I’ve spent my whole career defending, winning the ball back, stopping counterattacks. It’s true that in the past 18 months or so I’ve played higher up the pitch, and even I was surprised at the number of goals I scored and assists I made. I think that in order to be able to do those sorts of things, you need ambition and confidence: you need to have a desire to score a goal, a desire to attack spaces. Ultimately, there are many times when a player doesn’t have confidence in a teammate, or belief when his team is building an attack, and the move ends up breaking down and they end up failing to get a shot on goal. So, to score goals, I think having that confidence and ambition are absolutely key.

And now the final and, arguably, most importantly question: is it true that your mum has a small dog called Anfield?

That’s right. During lockdown, I gave a dog to my mum. My mum suffers a lot with my games; she gets very nervous. And our game against Liverpool in 2020 stayed with her; the same as with me and many other people. It was a great moment for her, for me and for the family. As a way to remember it forever she thought, “Heck, I’m going to name the dog Anfield.” She thought it would be a very nice memory for all of us.

Playing the field
Interview

Playing the field

Ahead of his side’s second leg against Manchester United, Marcos Llorente sits down with Champions Journal to discuss the round of 16, being Atlético’s utility man and a dog called Anfield

How do you deal with the pressure in big games?

I like it when things are tough and my opponent is stronger. For example, when I’ve played matches at full-back, I’ve enjoyed going up against Vinícius Júnior – or Luis Díaz, when he was at Porto. Those kinds of situations give me more motivation and make me concentrate more. Some players may prefer not to go up against those kinds of opponents, but in those situations I set myself challenges; for example, shutting down a very good, very fast winger who can throw your balance. That’s something I really enjoy.

The second leg of your tie against Manchester United is at Old Trafford. Where would you rank English fans in comparison to Spanish?

Well, for example, I think our fans are much better than a lot of fans in Spain. I think England has some of the best fans… I think every team has good fans. I think football is a big part of life there [in England], there’s a lot of passion. When I watch the matches on TV or watch videos of the goals, the atmosphere looks incredible. I think England, in terms of fans, if it isn’t number one, it’s number two.

Will you use the experience of beating Liverpool in the knockout stage in England in 2020?

Absolutely. It’s also what we’ve talked about. It was a very, very difficult situation – and I like those types of situations. That day, I came on and was chomping at the bit. Perhaps if we’d been winning 2-0 then I would have come on with a totally different mindset. For me, to have that challenge made it easier – I don’t know why.

Marcos Llorente has experience when it comes to knockout games in England

What are the qualities needed to play multiple positions across the pitch, as Diego Simeone often asks you to do?

A high level of fitness allows you to succeed in playing in different positions, as long as you’re tactically sound with the position. In my case, my high level of fitness, coupled with my speed and stamina, allows me to play as a full-back, a wing-back, or in attacking spaces as a central midfielder – and perform at a good level in each one.

How important is positioning when it comes to playing in attacking midfield?

Getting into the box from midfield is about joining the play as the ball is spread out wide and looking to get into the box to get on the end of a cross. Whereas finding space, given that teams nowadays are set up well tactically, if you are static then it’s very difficult to find space and put the opposition on the back foot and create chances. Ultimately, finding space is not about waiting for the opposition to give you the space to exploit. It’s about the space you attack with your runs that allows the striker to get into a better position to receive the ball or a teammate to occupy the space you just left free. For me, that’s a crucial skill. And if you have players in your team with that ability, it just adds to your team’s overall threat.

What’s the difference between attacking and defensive instincts on the pitch?

I’ve spent my whole career defending, winning the ball back, stopping counterattacks. It’s true that in the past 18 months or so I’ve played higher up the pitch, and even I was surprised at the number of goals I scored and assists I made. I think that in order to be able to do those sorts of things, you need ambition and confidence: you need to have a desire to score a goal, a desire to attack spaces. Ultimately, there are many times when a player doesn’t have confidence in a teammate, or belief when his team is building an attack, and the move ends up breaking down and they end up failing to get a shot on goal. So, to score goals, I think having that confidence and ambition are absolutely key.

And now the final and, arguably, most importantly question: is it true that your mum has a small dog called Anfield?

That’s right. During lockdown, I gave a dog to my mum. My mum suffers a lot with my games; she gets very nervous. And our game against Liverpool in 2020 stayed with her; the same as with me and many other people. It was a great moment for her, for me and for the family. As a way to remember it forever she thought, “Heck, I’m going to name the dog Anfield.” She thought it would be a very nice memory for all of us.

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.

How do you deal with the pressure in big games?

I like it when things are tough and my opponent is stronger. For example, when I’ve played matches at full-back, I’ve enjoyed going up against Vinícius Júnior – or Luis Díaz, when he was at Porto. Those kinds of situations give me more motivation and make me concentrate more. Some players may prefer not to go up against those kinds of opponents, but in those situations I set myself challenges; for example, shutting down a very good, very fast winger who can throw your balance. That’s something I really enjoy.

The second leg of your tie against Manchester United is at Old Trafford. Where would you rank English fans in comparison to Spanish?

Well, for example, I think our fans are much better than a lot of fans in Spain. I think England has some of the best fans… I think every team has good fans. I think football is a big part of life there [in England], there’s a lot of passion. When I watch the matches on TV or watch videos of the goals, the atmosphere looks incredible. I think England, in terms of fans, if it isn’t number one, it’s number two.

Will you use the experience of beating Liverpool in the knockout stage in England in 2020?

Absolutely. It’s also what we’ve talked about. It was a very, very difficult situation – and I like those types of situations. That day, I came on and was chomping at the bit. Perhaps if we’d been winning 2-0 then I would have come on with a totally different mindset. For me, to have that challenge made it easier – I don’t know why.

Marcos Llorente has experience when it comes to knockout games in England

What are the qualities needed to play multiple positions across the pitch, as Diego Simeone often asks you to do?

A high level of fitness allows you to succeed in playing in different positions, as long as you’re tactically sound with the position. In my case, my high level of fitness, coupled with my speed and stamina, allows me to play as a full-back, a wing-back, or in attacking spaces as a central midfielder – and perform at a good level in each one.

How important is positioning when it comes to playing in attacking midfield?

Getting into the box from midfield is about joining the play as the ball is spread out wide and looking to get into the box to get on the end of a cross. Whereas finding space, given that teams nowadays are set up well tactically, if you are static then it’s very difficult to find space and put the opposition on the back foot and create chances. Ultimately, finding space is not about waiting for the opposition to give you the space to exploit. It’s about the space you attack with your runs that allows the striker to get into a better position to receive the ball or a teammate to occupy the space you just left free. For me, that’s a crucial skill. And if you have players in your team with that ability, it just adds to your team’s overall threat.

What’s the difference between attacking and defensive instincts on the pitch?

I’ve spent my whole career defending, winning the ball back, stopping counterattacks. It’s true that in the past 18 months or so I’ve played higher up the pitch, and even I was surprised at the number of goals I scored and assists I made. I think that in order to be able to do those sorts of things, you need ambition and confidence: you need to have a desire to score a goal, a desire to attack spaces. Ultimately, there are many times when a player doesn’t have confidence in a teammate, or belief when his team is building an attack, and the move ends up breaking down and they end up failing to get a shot on goal. So, to score goals, I think having that confidence and ambition are absolutely key.

And now the final and, arguably, most importantly question: is it true that your mum has a small dog called Anfield?

That’s right. During lockdown, I gave a dog to my mum. My mum suffers a lot with my games; she gets very nervous. And our game against Liverpool in 2020 stayed with her; the same as with me and many other people. It was a great moment for her, for me and for the family. As a way to remember it forever she thought, “Heck, I’m going to name the dog Anfield.” She thought it would be a very nice memory for all of us.

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!

How do you deal with the pressure in big games?

I like it when things are tough and my opponent is stronger. For example, when I’ve played matches at full-back, I’ve enjoyed going up against Vinícius Júnior – or Luis Díaz, when he was at Porto. Those kinds of situations give me more motivation and make me concentrate more. Some players may prefer not to go up against those kinds of opponents, but in those situations I set myself challenges; for example, shutting down a very good, very fast winger who can throw your balance. That’s something I really enjoy.

The second leg of your tie against Manchester United is at Old Trafford. Where would you rank English fans in comparison to Spanish?

Well, for example, I think our fans are much better than a lot of fans in Spain. I think England has some of the best fans… I think every team has good fans. I think football is a big part of life there [in England], there’s a lot of passion. When I watch the matches on TV or watch videos of the goals, the atmosphere looks incredible. I think England, in terms of fans, if it isn’t number one, it’s number two.

Will you use the experience of beating Liverpool in the knockout stage in England in 2020?

Absolutely. It’s also what we’ve talked about. It was a very, very difficult situation – and I like those types of situations. That day, I came on and was chomping at the bit. Perhaps if we’d been winning 2-0 then I would have come on with a totally different mindset. For me, to have that challenge made it easier – I don’t know why.

Marcos Llorente has experience when it comes to knockout games in England

What are the qualities needed to play multiple positions across the pitch, as Diego Simeone often asks you to do?

A high level of fitness allows you to succeed in playing in different positions, as long as you’re tactically sound with the position. In my case, my high level of fitness, coupled with my speed and stamina, allows me to play as a full-back, a wing-back, or in attacking spaces as a central midfielder – and perform at a good level in each one.

How important is positioning when it comes to playing in attacking midfield?

Getting into the box from midfield is about joining the play as the ball is spread out wide and looking to get into the box to get on the end of a cross. Whereas finding space, given that teams nowadays are set up well tactically, if you are static then it’s very difficult to find space and put the opposition on the back foot and create chances. Ultimately, finding space is not about waiting for the opposition to give you the space to exploit. It’s about the space you attack with your runs that allows the striker to get into a better position to receive the ball or a teammate to occupy the space you just left free. For me, that’s a crucial skill. And if you have players in your team with that ability, it just adds to your team’s overall threat.

What’s the difference between attacking and defensive instincts on the pitch?

I’ve spent my whole career defending, winning the ball back, stopping counterattacks. It’s true that in the past 18 months or so I’ve played higher up the pitch, and even I was surprised at the number of goals I scored and assists I made. I think that in order to be able to do those sorts of things, you need ambition and confidence: you need to have a desire to score a goal, a desire to attack spaces. Ultimately, there are many times when a player doesn’t have confidence in a teammate, or belief when his team is building an attack, and the move ends up breaking down and they end up failing to get a shot on goal. So, to score goals, I think having that confidence and ambition are absolutely key.

And now the final and, arguably, most importantly question: is it true that your mum has a small dog called Anfield?

That’s right. During lockdown, I gave a dog to my mum. My mum suffers a lot with my games; she gets very nervous. And our game against Liverpool in 2020 stayed with her; the same as with me and many other people. It was a great moment for her, for me and for the family. As a way to remember it forever she thought, “Heck, I’m going to name the dog Anfield.” She thought it would be a very nice memory for all of us.

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.

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