Koke: Player Profile

Atletico's Koke: A Future Star for Both Club and Country

Personal information 
Full name: Jorge Resurrección Merodio
Date of birth: 8 January 1992 
Age: 22 
Place of birth: Madrid, Spain
Height: 1.77 m (5 ft 9 1⁄2 in) 
Playing position: Midfielder

Club information 
Current club: Atletico Madrid
Number: 6 

Youth career 
2000–2008 Atlético Madrid

Senior career 
2008–2011 Atletico B 66 Appearances, 7 goals
2009– Atletico Madrid 160 Appearances, 14 goals

National team 
2008 Spain U16 3 Appearances, 0 goals
2008–2009 Spain U17 21 Appearances, 0 goals
2010–2011 Spain U19 9 Appearances, 0 goals
2011 Spain U20 5 Appearances, 1 goal
2011– Spain U21 12 Appearances, 1 goal
2012 Spain U23 6 Appearances, 1 goal

2013– Spain 7 Appearances, 0 goals

You’ve got to admire the immense talent pool of young Spanish midfielders currently in La Liga. It doesn’t really get much better than this: one of the big-name high flyers in La Liga this season with a young Spaniard central to most of what is good.

Atletico Madrid deserve mountains of praise for what they’ve achieved under Diego Simeone over the past 18 months, but there’s far more to his team than just one star player.

But how can you not admire the rise of Koke through the Atletico ranks and into a genuine star for the future.

He’s a midfielder who has evolved from a deep-lying player into something even more dynamic and useful in a variety of positions in Simeone’s team.

He’s one of the first names on the team-sheet even ahead of established internationals like Cristian Rodriguez.

He gives Atletico the option of playing two strikers in attack, with Simeone selecting Arda Turan on one flank and Koke on the other.

When Simeone wants to stack the midfield, Koke is more than good enough to be the central figure in an attacking three behind Diego Costa.

He has the ability to conjure the spectacular in front of goal. It’s largely the joy of seeing yet another name from the Spanish youth system rise up to prominence who is still years away from his peak.

With Koke, it’s so easy for regular viewers of Atletico to fall under his charm in the same manner as with other Spanish youngsters in the league.

Here is a player who every club in La Liga would love to have, and there’s no question that Koke could be a fantastic acquisition for most of Europe’s giants.

It would be heartbreaking, of course, if city rivals Real Madrid decided they fancied a bit of the Madrid-born midfielder.

But like with most of the squad at the Vicente Calderon, you really don’t get a sense that Koke has eyes for anything other than success with Atletico.

The young Spanish Maestro has been instrumental to Atletico’s success in the Champions League this season. Atletico managed a hard fought 2-1 win on aggregate against Spanish giants Barcelona to advance to the semi-finals of the competition.

After drawing 1-1 at Camp Nou in the first leg, Koke scored the only goal in the crucial second leg to send Simeone’s team through. The midfielder has two winner’s medals with his club, the Europa League and UEFA Super Cup.

Koke is the tip of the iceberg for what is available in terms of young quality in Spanish football. Pleasantly, what we’ve seen from Koke up until this point is also a small sign of what’s to come in the near future.

A product of Atletico Madrid’s burgeoning youth system, Koke has been a central figure in Atletico’s steady rise from La Liga.

A midfielder with skill, craft, an excellent eye for a pass and superb set-piece delivery, he’s the full package. Koke was born in Colonia de los Taxistas – the same barrio as Alvaro Negredo. But if Manchester City’s new man is the ‘Beast of Vallecas’, Koke is the brains. "A very complete midfielder"

He made his Atletico debut in 2009 under testing circumstances: a bright-eyed 17-year-old coming off the bench in a 5-2 thrashing at the hands of Barcelona in Camp Nou.

Little by little he began to establish himself at the Vicente Calderon, growing into an important part of Simeone’s first team, with the midfielder making his 100th appearance for the club in March last year.

At international level Koke appeared at every age group for his country before making his senior international debut in Guayaquil against Ecuador in August. He was a key part of Spain’s Under-21 European Championship in Israel last year.

As a player, one of Koke’s biggest strengths is his versatility. He can play anywhere across the midfield and even at right-back, where he appeared for Spain in a 2-0 win against Finland.

“He's a very complete midfielder and he does virtually everything in that role,” Spain coach Vicente del Bosque enthused before handing Koke his international debut. Tactically, his intelligence is a natural fit for Simeone’s disciplined midfield unit.

And for now, any talk of a move away from Atletico looks like just that – talk. Koke is settled in Madrid and recently signed a new contract last term tying him down until 2018. Contract extension or not, it won’t be too long before Europe’s biggest clubs start sniffing around Spain’s newest golden boy.