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Koke playing for Atlético Madrid in 2013
|Full name||Jorge Resurrección Merodio|
|Date of birth||8 January 1992|
|Place of birth||Madrid, Spain|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|2008–2011||Atlético Madrid B||66||(7)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 1 October 2017.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 6 October 2017
Jorge Resurrección Merodio (born 8 January 1992), known as Koke (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkoke]), is a Spanish professional footballer who plays for Atlético Madrid and the Spain national team as a midfielder.
He spent most of his career with Atlético Madrid since making his debut with the first team in 2009, playing over 300 official games and winning five honours, including the 2014 national championship and the 2012 Europa League.
Koke was born in Vallecas, Madrid. Having arrived at Atlético Madrid's youth system at the age of eight, he made his debut for the first team on 19 September 2009, playing in the second half of a 2–5 away loss against FC Barcelona after coming on as a substitute for Paulo Assunção. He made three further appearances during the season.
Koke scored his first league goal for Atlético against Sevilla FC on 26 February 2011, his 47th-minute header from a Diego Forlán cross made it 1–1 in an eventual 2–2 home draw. He finished his first full season as a professional with 17 games and two goals (the other coming in a 2–2 draw at RCD Espanyol) as the Colchoneros finished seventh and qualified for the UEFA Europa League.
Koke was again an important member of Atlético's midfield in the 2011–12 campaign, under both Gregorio Manzano and his successor Diego Simeone. On 29 April 2012 he scored his first league goal of the season, opening the score in the 62nd minute of an eventual 2–2 away draw against Real Betis. He appeared in 13 matches during the club's successful Europa League run, including a 90th-minute substitute appearance in the 3–0 defeat of Athletic Bilbao in the final.
Aged only 20/21, Koke started in 38 of his 48 official appearances during 2012–13 and scored three goals – this included 112 minutes of play in the season's Copa del Rey final, won against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu. He also began to excel at passing, either through set pieces or open play.
On 1 September 2013, Koke scored his first goal of the new campaign, contributing to a 2–1 away win over Real Sociedad. His performances in October earned him the accolade of La Liga Player of the Month, while his manager Diego Simeone won the equivalent managerial award; on 3 March 2014, he scored to help his team to a 2–2 home draw in the Derbi madrileño against Real Madrid.
On 9 April 2014, Koke scored his first goal in the UEFA Champions League, netting the only goal of a quarter-final against Barcelona to send Atlético to the semi-finals for the first time since 1974. He finished the domestic league season as the player with the second most assists with 14, as Atlético won the league title for the first time in 18 years after drawing 1–1 with Barcelona at Camp Nou in the final matchday; he was a nominee at the LFP Awards at attacking midfielder, losing out to Andrés Iniesta.
On 25 June 2014, Koke signed a new five-year deal with Atlético. He was named Man of the match in their Champions League group match at Malmö FF on 4 November, scoring the first goal of a 2–0 win. In a penalty shootout against Bayer 04 Leverkusen for the Champions League round-of-16, on 18 March of the following year, he had his attempt saved by Bernd Leno, but his team nonetheless advanced.
Koke started 2015–16 slowly, scoring one goal and registering not a single assist by the middle of November. By the middle of April 2016, after a spell of six decisive passes in as many games, he equalled his season's assist record of 12; later that month he surpassed that tally, also moving to first place in the assists chart ahead of Barcelona's Luis Suárez, and was voted Player of the Month for the second time.
Koke was a member of the Spain under-20 side which reached the quarter-finals at the 2011 FIFA World Cup in Colombia. He missed in the last-16 penalty shootout against South Korea, but his team advanced nonetheless.
Koke featured in the Spanish team at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, playing all three games as the tournament ended at the group stage for the nation. He also represented the under-21s at the 2013 UEFA European Championship, being named to the team of the tournament as Spain won the competition by beating Italy 4–2 in Jerusalem in the final.
Koke made his debut for senior team on 14 August 2013, replacing Santi Cazorla for the final 12 minutes of a 2–0 friendly win in Ecuador. His first competitive appearance for La Furia Roja came on 6 September of that year, as he played the full 90 minutes in a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Finland that ended with a 2–0 win.
Koke was named in Spain's 30-man provisional squad for the World Cup, and was also included in the final list for the tournament. On 19 June, he made his debut in the tournament after replacing Xabi Alonso at half-time as the champions trailed 0–2 to Chile at the Maracanã in the second group game, but could not change the scoreline as elimination was confirmed. He started in the final fixture, a 3–0 victory over Australia.
Koke is right-footed, but his versatility allows him to play as right, left or central midfielder. He is also known for his passing, and ability to create attacking opportunities.
He earned the plaudits of his peers, including Barcelona's Xavi who regarded him as his successor:
He has everything: talent, physical ability, he is a footballer of the present and the future... He has been marked out as the conductor of Spain's orchestra for the next 10 years. I have a special affection for him because we play in the same position and I think he is an extraordinary player.
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