Koke aimed a dig at Rafael van der Vaart after the Netherlands legend branded Spain’s football ‘horrible’ at Euro 2020.
Spain were limping towards qualifying for the knockout stages before a scintillating performance in their final group game against Slovakia.
Luis Enrique’s side ran riot against Slovakia to finish second in Group E having scored just once previously in the tournament.
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Midfielder Koke was clearly unimpressed with Van der Vaart’s scathing criticism of Spain and hit back at the retired footballer, who has plenty of history with Spain.
“Van de Vaart wants his moment of glory and he's having it,” Koke said on El Partidazo de COPE.
I saw him in the World Cup final, and here at Las Rozas we have a photo of [Andres] Iniesta's goal against the Netherlands with [Van der Vaart] next to him. You have to respect him.
He added: “We're going to keep those words to motivate us a bit.
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“We're not going to hang them up in the dressing room, but we're going to keep them in our memory if we play them.”
The Netherlands were beaten by Spain in the World Cup final in 2010, with Van der Vaart coming on as a substitute and Iniesta scoring the only goal of the game in extra time.
While speaking on Dutch TV, Van der Vaart took aim at Spain and their style of play.
“Spain are horrible, all they do is pass it from one side to the other,” he said. Before the thrashing of Slovakia, Spain had scored just once and drawn their two other group games against Sweden and Poland.
Enrique was delighted his players produced a superb performance under intense pressure.
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“It’s a relief of course – I don’t know about a liberation – but not just for me but in terms of what it means for our ability to achieve a convincing result via our style,” he said in the post-match press conference.
"I believe people will have plenty of complaints but I really don’t think there can be any criticism of today.
When you are a coach you know when you win you get praise, sometimes too much, and when you lose you get criticism. I think coaches know that better than anyone in the world of football.
“Now it’s about celebrating and then tomorrow we will prepare for the next match. I am sure there are things we can improve.”
Spain will play Croatia in the last-16 next Monday.
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