Koke: No divide in Spain squad over Pique comments

EXCLUSIVE: The Atletico Madrid man dismissed talk of tension in la Roja’s camp after the Barcelona defender mocked Real Madrid

Spain midfielder Koke denies that there have been any breakdowns in relationships between Real Madrid and Barcelona players in light of Gerard Pique’s controversial comments on Sunday.

The Barcelona defender appeared to fan the flames between the two great rival clubs when he thanked Kevin Roldan, the singer who performed at Cristiano Ronaldo’s 30th birthday party after Real Madrid lost 4-0 to Atletico Madrid in February, for helping the Catalans clinch the treble.

Pique’s comments earned him a fiery reception from fans when he turned up at Spain’s training base ahead of the country’s friendly against Costa Rica on Thursday and Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Belarus.

However, Atletico star Koke insists that the external controversy has not created any tension within the squad and dismissed Pique’s speech as harmless.

“Of course there hasn’t been friction between players of Real Madrid and Barcelona,” the 23-year-old told Goal.  

“We are all good friends. All that happened was Pique mentioning Kevin Roldan because he was celebrating and that’s that. No one here has given it more importance.”

The midfielder also stated that former team-mate David de Gea and Iker Casillas still have an excellent rapport within the Spain set-up, claiming that there was no rivalry between the pair for a place in goal.

“Casillas and De Gea get along very well and have a very good relationship. De Gea was already a great goalkeeper from when we played together for Atletico’s youth teams, and is a very good friend of mine,” Koke confirmed.

Atletico youth product De Gea has been heavily linked with a move to Real where he could challenge his older counterpart for a spot too and Koke stated he would be putting his friendship with the custodian aside if they met on opposite sides of the Madrid derby next term.

“I’ll always hope the best for De Gea but were I to play against him next term I will go to beat him,” he concluded.

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06 2015
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