Jan Oblak is widely considered to be among the best, if not the best, goalkeepers in world football. In 2015/16 he won the Zamora award given to La Liga Santander’s best goalkeeper after conceding just 18 goals all season and has won the award every season since.
He reached the 100 clean sheet mark for Atleti in just 178 games and in April extended his contract at the club until 2023.
You’ve been named La Liga Santander’s top goalkeeper in each of the last four seasons. Do you think you’ve reached your peak?
There’s not just one thing I can improve on, I think I can improve everything still… all aspects of my game. I’m improving myself day by day but I’m still not at that level where you can’t improve any more. You can always improve and I’m sure that I can still be much better.
How do you think the role of the goalkeeper has evolved in recent years?
Goalkeepers are becoming more and more important. I think that in the past people didn’t always look at goalkeepers as being fundamentally important to the team but now it’s clear just how important they are.
We players are here to adapt to how the team plays. I’ve adapted to how we play at Atleti and we are doing great things. But if the coach wants to change how we play, then that’s what I’ll do too. I’m here to do what the coach asks of me.
How did you feel being named a club captain this season?
It’s a huge honour to be a captain for such a great club like Atletico de Madrid. Especially because I’m not from here. I’m from Slovenia, I wasn’t born here. It’s an honour and it makes me proud.
Atleti conceded fewer goals than any other side in La Liga Santander this season. How important is that to you?
Strikers want to score, and goalkeepers want to keep a clean sheet. But it’s not just me! The whole team wants to keep a clean sheet, and the whole team wants to score. It’s important for all of us. If you keep 20 clean sheets it means you’ve not lost in 20 games.
We can be proud of that because it’s not easy. Last season we were great at that, picking up clean sheets. I really should thank my teammates for their help, I’m not alone out there and it’s not just my work. It’s a long season and we’re up against a lot of very good teams in LaLiga.
What do you think the team can improve on next season?
We need to pick up more points in away games. If we can do that we’ll be fighting for the title, no doubt. In the end we ended up fighting for second place. It’s difficult. There are moments in the season when you do well, others not so well. You just need to keep your eyes on the prize and up your game.
We all want to push for something more, to win more titles. We started this season by winning the European Super Cup and we were very focused on the LaLiga title but, in the end, we finished second. We should congratulate Barcelona for winning the title and now all we can do is wait for another opportunity next season.
Diego Godin has been such an important part of this Atleti team for many years. How much will he be missed?
Diego [Godin] told us that he’s leaving. He’s done a great job at this club, winning a lot of trophies. He was our captain this season and I’m very grateful to have had him by my side.
The summer is long so let’s see what happens, it’s difficult to speak about next season right now. I have only good things to say about Godin and Filipe Luis, though. Wonderful teammates, I’m proud to say we played together.