Koke: There’s more to Messi than just goals

The midfielder has highlighted the importance of the Argentina international, while he has also called on his team-mates to stay tight and counterattack against Barca on Wednesday

Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke believes Lionel Messi brings more than just goals to Barcelona and has praised the Argentina international for being a team player.

"Messi is not only about goals,” the midfielder told AS. “He also makes the team play well." 

Atletico are set to play the Catalan side on Wednesday in the second-leg of their Champions League quarter-final, with the score currently level at 1-1 after the first meeting.

"In Barcelona we played a great game and we must continue in the same way: defend well, stay tight and do well on the counterattack," he added. "And above all be a group, which is what characterises us."

The Spanish side are currently leading the Primera Division and the 22-year-old is delighted with his side’s current form but has urged his team-mate’s to avoid complacency in order to continue in the same vein.

"From time to time, you stop and think and say, ‘we're doing something great’," Koke continued. "It's very nice, but this is not over. We must continue on this line. The team is doing something amazing."

The Spain international also paid tribute to his coach, Diego Simeone, who he says made him the player he is today.

“Simeone is very important to me. But not just for me, for all my team-mates. He came at a time when the team was not good.

“He changed our whole mindset. We started thinking positively and playing every game like it was a final.

“I'd say it's the coach who has influenced me. He gave me confidence from the day he arrived and has made me the player I am.”