Spain Koke to clean up in Brazil
Jorge Resurreccion Merodio, better known as Koke is being billed as Spain’s next big thing. After rolling off the production line at Madrid’s second team Atletico, the boy whose name translates to ‘farmer resurrected’, is beginning to look like a younger version of Xavi.
Selected in Spain’s World Cup squad, by manager Vicente del Bosque, he has every chance of featuring after helping his team to the La Liga title and Champions League final.
Having been at Atleti since the age of eight, Koke has grown up with the Madrid way in his DNA. A penchant for a pass, he can become the metronomic heartbeat in Spain’s midfield for years to come. Although often positioned to the left of an attacking trio, behind the main striker by club coach Diego Simeone, his traits indicate he would be best utilised in a Barcelona-esque system as one of the three midfielders.
In true past Xavi mould, he has become an assist machine, second only to Cesc Fabregas this season, and servicing arguably the best striker in Europe, in Diego Costa. A partnership Del Bosque would be foolish to overlook, as at least a second option.
Spain are 13/2 to win the World Cup, which would cap a successful season for Koke, who could be battling with Xabi Alonso as first midfield substitution at the tournament. They take on the Netherlands in their first fixture, in what will be a repeat of the 2010 final – a match Spain won 1-0 courtesy of Andres Iniesta in extra-time.
Atleti have looked after Koke for the last 14 years, grooming him well, providing all the tools he needs to become one of the best of his generation. Although growing up in the shadow of the cauldron that is the Bernabeu across town, by contrast, the cool breeze issuing from the river Manzaneres has seemingly ensnared his senses, keeping his character in check.
There is a famous saying in Madrid: ‘Favor con favor se paga’, roughly translated; one good turn deserves another. Del Bosque has shown his faith, it’s time for the ‘farmer’ to fertilise his crop.