ATLÉTICO DE MADRID

Werner: “Atlético is a dream; I admire how Simeone works"

The talented young goalkeeper is close to completing a move to Atlético. During a conversation with AS, he dropped compliments for Atleti and Simeone...

Promising young goalkeeper Axel Werner could become an Atlético de Madrid player before the summer is out. The 20-year-old took time to chat with AS, and had complimentary words to say for both Atleti and Diego Simeone...

You've spent three months in the top flight with Atlético de Rafaela, you're in the Argentina squad for the Rio Olympics and now you're close to signing for Atlético. It's all happened so quickly...

I've done my calculations and if I really think about it, I can't even believe it myself. I can't really believe that a big club like Atlético would be interested in me. It makes me feel very proud because I'm Argentinean, el Cholo is a fellow countryman and Atleti is a club which always welcomes Argentine players with open arms. But I'm not thinking too far ahead, my immediate objective is to win a medal at the Olympics.

It must have been a huge deal for you. Has it made you grow up very quickly?

There's no other way around it. I've got things which I can improve - especially taking goal kicks and using my feet. But maturity comes with experience. First it's important to keep a level head and work hard every day.

Axel Werner

What do you lack to complete your move to Atlético?

I know that joining Atlético is a possibility; both sides are open to the idea. I'm taking it all in my stride, with calm. It's really nice for me, it's recognition for the work I have put in and for the perseverance and effort I have made.

What do you like about Simeone?

I feel very proud knowing that Atlético want me. I admire the work Simeone has done; as a coach he's someone who is obsessive about his job and that's just one of his qualities. He has given everything for football as a player and now as a coach. “Effort cannot be negotiated” is one of his phrases, isn't it? I share that mentality completely. These are the kind of people who triumph and reach the very top. He's Argentinean, he's also a symbol for the national team and he is representing us in the elite of world football. It would be a dream to be coached by him.

Has Mono Burgos had much influence in Atlético's interest for you?

I don't know. I have never spoken to him. I because of my age, I don't know much about him when he was a player but I have seen a lot of videos of him playing. I really like the style he had, his personality. He was a very advanced keeper for his age and I have great admiration for him. I think together with the coach, they make an amazing partnership.

Have you spoken to Ángel Correa about Atlético?

To be honest, no I haven't. He only asked me whether it was true that I was close to signing but I don't know any more than that, only that they are interested. We are fully immersed in preparing for the Olympics. If it happens, there'll be plenty of time for us to chat about Atlético.

Argentina's Olympic keepers Gero Rulli and Axel Werner

Which goalkeepers have influenced you?

I'm a great admirer of Buffon, an excellent keeper who has managed to maintain his level and position in the team for 20 years. And another keeper who I really like is Manuel Neuer, he is the stereotypical perfect goalkeeper: he's got everything you look for in a keeper - personality, he's good with both feet, he's solid in the air...

What kind of an impact did Tata Martino's resignation have on the players?

We're all very sad about it; he had been doing a great job and we were all very motivated and excited at the prospect of being coached by him: the national team coach, who took Argentina to two Copa América finals, was a champion with Newell’s, who coached Barcelona... But nothing is going to take away our hunger to win a medal at the Olympic Games.

Julio Olarticochea's the new coach; is his enthusiasm rubbing off on the squad?

Yes, despite the difficulties we've had, this is a great group. We have an incredible sense of pride to be able to represent our country at the Olympic Games. And it's a great feeling to be all back together - with the lads, the coaching staff, everyone who works at the Federation... it's all really nice.