Lto visit the Atlético de Madrid a Gran Canaria It is one of the most anticipated events on the island. The yellow stadium will present a historic full house to see the team of Diego Pablo Simeone. A special match also for Jorge Larena (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1981) who wore the jersey of both teams.
Las Palmas and Atltico, what match are you expecting?
A nice match. The two teams have a very marked style. Atleti has started very well. It is a very solid team in defense and with variety up front with scorers like Griezmann or Morata. Las Palmas is also in a good moment after winning three of the last four league games and conceding very few opportunities. UD is going to want to be the protagonist with the ball. I see a very disputed match.
You coincided with Simeone at Atleti, what was he like then?
I was 20 years old and starting my career. He was very experienced and came from winning things as a player. I remember he would have dinners at his house and he was very close to everyone. You could tell that he liked being a coach. Then watch rivals’ games to study them. When it was his turn on the bench, he was already acting as a coach giving instructions to his teammates.
Until he is the coach he is now.
The history of Atlético de Madrid has changed. He changed his way of competing, of believing and fighting for titles. Now Atleti competes with the greats. He has modified his idea a little. It started out as a more defensive team, and has been developing that idea to be more of a protagonist. The club has been growing hand in hand with a philosophy that adapts wonderfully to the club.
Do your children ask you about your time in the Atlético?
The oldest really likes football. He is 13 years old and he really likes Atlético and Las Palmas. We have talked a lot about my time at Atleti. That stage filled me a lot. It is true that it does not have much to do with the current one. The difference in stages is abysmal. We never played in Europe, and now to think that Atlético does not qualify is a utopia.
Gran Canaria is an island with many mattress fans.
When I was there I already noticed that there are fans everywhere, because Atleti is a team that is very popular. There have always been many mattress fans here. Notice how there have been no entries for a week. It is a large team with history that always moves people.
Has UD Las Palmas also changed?
My first stage in Las Palmas was a joy. We played in the Insular and there was a special magic. The second we played in the Second Division, but then with few options for promotion. The club has grown a lot. It is noticeable in the stadium when the athletics tracks are removed. What has not changed is the philosophy and style. Pimienta seems like a very good coach to me and I love how he transmits things. He makes the team play football, and he also does it with many canaries in the eleven. That idea makes the fans feel identified.
Jonathan Viera will not play, what does Las Palmas lose without him?
He loses a lot, it’s logical. He has always shown that he is a player who makes a difference. He has competed in every stage he has been in. But Las Palmas has shown that it also competes if he does. That speaks well of the team and the coach. I know that he has personal problems and I wish him the best because I appreciate him very much. But the team is always on top. If it finally stays, it will be great news for Las Palmas, and if it goes, I wish you the best.