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José Luis Garci: “I would like to always go out to win, we give away the first parts”

José Luis Garci, cineasta español.

Jose Luis Garcia ‘start over’ every morning with the peace of mind of someone who doesn’t have their own telephone, computer, internet, or car… They have what they want, among many other properties, an unbridled enthusiasm for Athleticas he says, that he only shares with the Sporting Gijon by paternal inheritance.

—”Dad, why are we from Atleti?” That boy asked his father…

—And to think that as a kid he was a child member of Real Madrid, in the south end, standing up. At the Metropolitano we could go to the stands for free because my father was a friend of the Marquis of Florida, a well-known athletic director of the time. The Metropolitan was a field with its high gradena; the new Chamartín was already a stadium as such. The truth is that I always had a greater sentimental inclination for Atleti, perhaps also because they wore the same colors as Sporting, which was my family’s team. In that somewhat gray post-war world, the red stripes and the blue pants attracted more attention than the white ones of Madrid, Valencia, Seville…

—And since then football never left his life… and his identification with Atlético became eternal.

—I have always seen football as a spare life, like the cinema. I have never dramatized for a defeat. I liked to see, listen to what my father told me. I never saw him yell at anyone. I identified so much with Atlético that I have the club’s gold and diamond badge, as I also have Sporting’s. But I must be one of the few who is not only not anti-Madrid, but has sympathy for Madrid. It’s normal, it’s also the team from my city and it would be absurd if I were against it…

—So you don’t quite understand why your club has decided not to do the hall tonight…

“It seems absurd to me.” He told Petón the other day. It is an act of generosity to shake hands or congratulate the team that has just won the League. I have never been a fan of anything and less in football. People don’t like soccer, they like their team to win. I like my team to win, but also to play well.

-What has been the derby of your life?

—The Copa del Rey final that was won at the Bernabéu in 2013 with Miranda’s goal in extra time. I sang the goal before taking the corner. It was the greatest moment of splendor and brilliance of this Simeone Atleti. Everything was fitted. It was the team that gave way to the one that could win the Champions League in Lisbon. He reminded me of Atleti from ’74 who reached the European Cup final with Luis, Adelardo, Gárate, Ufarte, Irureta, Alberto… Adelardo has been for me the best player the club has ever had. He played in the best ‘Atletis’ in several stages.

“It is absurd not to make the corridor, it is an act of generosity to shake hands with the champion”

—And your sentimental relationship with Simeone after 10 years like this right now?

—It doesn’t seem to me that playing with five defenses is from a very champion team. Although last year he won playing this way. You get to the top with few people, it’s difficult to score goals. Atleti’s fall began in the second round of last year in which they almost lost the 15 points they had ahead. The end was agonizing. This year has been everything in decline. They can tell me that they used to play the same, but any winger that compares is never going to be like the best Juanfran or the best Filipe; no center back is going to be like Godín…. Or the best Gabi. Villa is no more. You can play the same, but the players are not the same. If you don’t have good players for your system, it doesn’t work… I see it as difficult to qualify for the Champions League. The other day in Bilbao we had to go out and win and we gave away the first part. We always give away the first parts… I don’t understand why. Against the City of four parts, three were given away…

“What derby are you expecting tonight?”

—Complicated, I expect a Madrid that is going to come out to win. Madrid always shows its face. People talk about miracles, but Madrid is special since Di Stéfano arrived. It is always a team of enormous quality. He even saw himself against City: Courtois, Benzema… Then, he has always been dedicated, even the finest stylist players. They also have an unshakable faith, like the faith of parishioners who go out in processions. Madrid is a religion. And the fourth ingredient is luck, you can’t have all of that without being lucky.

—Man, athletics have always boasted of also being a religion…

—No, Atleti is a mystery, it does disconcerting things. There is no logic in it. But always, from that Atlético de Aviación. A team that transforms for better or for worse. And the players are also mysterious. He has the romantic fatalism of film noir, the film of losers, but losers don’t get angry, on the contrary. The night City eliminated us, we stayed there applauding. Madrid, however, is like the movie Casablanca, a continuous succession of miracles.

—I see you skeptical, or perhaps ‘burnt’ with yours…

—Atlético has to renew itself, I don’t know if in terms of players, but in terms of the way they play. Simeone has proven to be an extraordinary coach who has won everything except the Champions League with the way he plays, but he should give it a twist and say now, moreover, we are going to play well. He has already shown us that you can win well that way, now I would go more to Menotti. We are going to play well, we are going to touch the ball, not like now that it looks like a handball team, playing from one side to the other, but without depth. It would be fantastic if he made that change, it would be an incentive for next season. I see qualification for the Champions League as difficult. I don’t see him beating Madrid, Sevilla, Real Madrid… I don’t see him saying we’re going to go out and win. It is about believing or not believing.

—Which was the best Atlético of your life?

—Oblak; Rivilla, Luis Pereira, Godin, Calleja; Adelardo, Simeone, Luis; Ufarte, Gárate and Collar… And at times the one that won the Recopa against Fiorentina in 1962 after winning two Cups against Real Madrid at the Bernabéu the two previous years.

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