Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has made bold claims that city rivals Real Madrid have the best team in the world.
Simeone, a defensive midfielder who played for Atletico between 2003 to 2005 and has managed the team since 2011, says Manchester City, Barcelona and PSG are great teams but not comparable to the quality at Madrid.
Image: Diego Simeone
The Argentine football icon also says he appreciates his crop of players despite their “underdogs” rating, adding that he’s contented with Atleti players because they love their football family and are ready to contribute to everyone’s growth.
Speaking ahead of their encounter with La Liga champions today, Simeone bragged about his players’ loyalty, saying he’d rather keep them than have a group of world stars whose long-term presence are not guaranteed.
“I was always up for it whether we were first, eighth or ninth,” he said of their composure for the match against Los Blancos.
“The derbies are passionate affairs because you play with a high attitude and the people live it the same…I couldn’t imagine it being any other way.”
Simeone, 47, said his team is only better than Madrid this season in two ways: the points and consistency in La Liga. Atleti are second-placed with 67 points while Zidane’s team is third with 63 points.
Asked to pick two most important players from both sides, Simeone named Antoine Griezmann and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Who is more important for their team?” He said. “The two are decisive for each team, we see it in their goals, in their plays…It’s not hard to see that Cristiano is decisive and Griezmann is for us.”
Regarding his plan to launch a full-blown assault at the Santiago Bernabeu, Simeone said: “We are who we are. And we will look to persevere as a team in this important game.”
He continued, “I think Madrid are the best in the world. Their squad and record say it all…Zidane has built a tremendous squad — better than PSG, City, Barca and others… It’s the strength that they have as a team… We don’t have a plan against the champions yet but we will, before the match.”