In a recent interview with Madrid-based Diario AS, Filipe Luis has opened up about his move back to Atletico de Madrid this summer, after just a year in the English capital. It was a successful year for the now 30-year-old, but leaving just a year into a three-year contract was a bit of a surprise even if he couldn't unseat Cesar Azpilicueta as first-choice left back. Turns out, a big part of the reason was that he was basically homesick (not for Brazil, but for Atletico).
"I'm very happy. I was very excited when I learned that Atletico were interested in my return. There are very few players that get that opportunity. Right now, it's the best think that could happen to me."
"I feel like I never left. Almost all the players are the same, the club has improved and not much has changed. The feeling I have on the pitch is much more important, it's like I never left."
"I always missed Atletico in London. I couldn't let go of the club. Maybe I should've just gone and forgotten it, but I didn't stop watching their games, or talking to my teammates, sending them messages everytime they scored a goal or made a great play. I was always concerned and anxious during their games. I've never smiled as much as I did here. It was better, perhaps that's why I feel like I never left."
Filipe would apparently get together with the rest of our ex-Atletico contingent to watch Diego Simeone's men in action, and while that's not that meaningful in and of itself -- Eden Hazard follows Lille, for example, while Pedro no doubt keeps up to date with Barcelona's results -- these were far bigger occasions for Filipe than just a relaxing time in front of the TV or the computer screen watching the football.
"We would get together to watch the games. I remember the Super Cup. Diego and I were focused and we went down to the front desk to watch the game on the computer. We never lost our affection for Atletico. We talked about Atleti more and more, but they (Courtois and Costa) played and are fully adapted to life in London."
Diego Costa is often said to be "pining" for Atletico in tabloid headlines, but Filipe claims that the striker, by virtue of establishing himself in the Chelsea starting lineup, has now fully adapted. But as just the backup to Cesar Azpilicueta, that latter bit never quite happened for Filipe himself.
"I was coming off a season where I played more than 50 games and had to share a poisition with Azpilicueta, which was a shock for me. It makes you less important, but I recovered the matches I'd lost with the national team games. Overall, I played more than 40 games and didn't lose my pace of fitness. It's true that I was not as important there. I never demanded that, what I wanted most was to be a champion because very few people get that honour. I succeeded, but prehaps the happiness I felt wasn't the same there. The difference was very significant."
And so, Filipe reunited with El Cholo and lived happily ever after. (Though he missed Atleti's second match of the season thanks to a hamstring twinge.)