Getting to know Atlético's Diego Godín

An ultra-competitive family man who started life as a striker, Club Atlético de Madrid defender Diego Godín answered your UEFA Champions League Facebook questions.

Diego Godín has enjoyed the best form of his career at Atlético
Diego Godín has enjoyed the best form of his career at Atlético ©AFP/Getty Images

An ultra-competitive family man who started life as a striker, Club Atlético de Madrid centre-back Diego Godín revealed all when he answered questions from UEFA Champions League Facebook fans.

How is your injury – a broken nose – improving?

Diego Godín: I'm better now and hoping to be able to play without the face mask. I'm handling it well!

Do you think Atlético can win against Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the last 16?

Godín: Our aim is to beat Leverkusen in Germany, but mainly to score away goals. That's crucial in a UEFA Champions League knockout tie.

What percentage of a footballer's success is down to their physical condition and how much is due to innate talent?

Godín: It's a difficult question to answer in percentages. You have to have talent in today's game, but if you're not in good physical condition, it's very difficult to compete at the highest level.

Your best goal for Atlético?

Godín: The one at the Camp Nou with which we won the Liga last season, without a doubt.

What is the key to Atlético's success?

Godín: Working every day, and forming a great group with clear ideas. We've always had these thanks to the work of Diego Simeone and Óscar Ortega. The physical part is vital to compete at the highest level. We've tried to improve certain details that have made us grow. The team have grown by winning trophies and with the addition of some quality players.

Godín has mastered the art of heading
Godín has mastered the art of heading©AFP/Getty Images

How do you improve your heading technique?

Godín: We work hard on the power of our jumps in a group and sometimes individually. It's a specific exercise for my position. Midfielders often have to jump and win headers. I also think it's important to understand the player crossing the ball and being clever enough to search for the gap, and to guess where the ball is going.

What does Diego Simeone tell his players to maintain their spirit, especially before facing a formidable opponent?

Godín: He always tries to have the entire team prepared mentally and physically, especially those who play less. It's difficult for a group of players all to be focused, with their heads in the game. It's been one of his greatest strengths.

Your best moment in the red and white shirt of Atleti?

Godín: The best was winning the league title last season, but it's difficult to say only one because I enjoy all the trophies and games. There's no better feeling than that of a job well done and to have won.

Who is the most competitive in the team?

Godín: I think the great virtue of this team is the competitiveness of the group. If we weren't so competitive internally, it would be very difficult to compete against the big teams. What happens with Atlético is similar to what happens with Uruguay: if we weren't competitive, we wouldn't be able to compete in the FIFA World Cup.

In what position did you begin playing football?

Godín: I started playing at Rosario Club Estudiantes when I was five, always as a forward. Then, at 12, I started to play more as a No10 or attacking midfielder. And at 16, I played as a defender at Club Atlético Cerro. At first, I didn't like it much because I wanted to play in attack, but then I adjusted to the position and started to like it. Nowadays, I enjoy it immensely.

What kind of training do you do? Is it the key to success?

Godín: You play how you train. We train every day to compete to the fullest and win. I think that is the key. Physical training is fundamental to enduring so many high-level matches, as is having clear ideas about what Simeone asks us, to be an organised and intense group.

Atleti: renowned for their hard work in training
Atleti: renowned for their hard work in training©AFP/Getty Images

Who is your favourite team-mate?

Godín: That's a hard one ... I have a lot. It would be wrong to say just one. I have many friends in the dressing room.

Describe yourself in one word.

Godín: Competitive. I don't like losing at anything! Off the field, I like the small things, like meeting a friend for a drink or to have a barbecue. I enjoy being with my family. I love home.

Who is the player you've always wanted to play with?

Godín: Very good question ... I would have liked to play in the same team as Enzo Francescoli. He was my idol when I was little.

How do you feel playing for Atleti?

Godín: I feel very good, happy and proud, and that shows in every game. When you have the love, commitment and sense of belonging, it always shows when you play.

What does it mean to be an Atleti player?

Godín: I think it means wanting to win through work and sacrifice. We have good and bad moments, but always with great affection from our supporters. And I'm not only speaking about the fans but also about the club employees that work day-to-day. That's what you end up loving and what makes you feel part of this enormous institution.