Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has conceded that Real Madrid have more individual talent than his side.
Despite boasting one the world’s most expensive squads and currently holding a seven-point advantage over their city rivals on the La Liga table, Real Madrid have failed to defeat Atletico in six previous matches this season (four losses and two draws).
The last time Real tasted victory over their city rivals was during the 2014 Champions League final in Lisbon.
Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final, Simeone placed no emphasis on the previous matches between the two clubs. The manager simply stated that tomorrow’s encounter at the Vicente Calderon will be an intense showdown between the city rivals.
“The two teams are different because of the qualities of their players,” Simeone said.
“This is also a different game from last season, with players on both sides who weren’t involved in the Lisbon final. They have more individual talent than us in several positions.
“I don’t look at previous matches because this one is going to be different – it will be played with real intensity.
“They have extraordinary players and we respect the ability of them all.”
Simeone was then asked if he would have preferred to have faced a different opponent, since his side have already faced Real Madrid six times this season.
“We cannot choose out opponents,” Simeone responded. “But I admire Carlo Ancelotti as a man – he doesn’t change his words whether his team win or lose.
“It’s a source of pride to compete against the best and Carlo is one of them.”
Atletico Madrid have won 21 of their last 23 European matches at the Vicente Calderon. Their only defeat came against FC Rubin Kazan in the Europa League round of 32 in February 2013.
They have also not conceded a single goal at home in the Champions League this season – against Juventus, Malmo, Olympiakos and Bayer Leverkusen.
Simeone is hoping the Vicente Calderon will once again prove to be one of Europe’s most intimidating venues.
“I wish that we, from our position on the pitch, could ask our supporters to be with us for the whole match, “Simeone concluded.
“There is a great symbiosis between players and fans. Being among the best eight teams in Europe makes our supporters proud.
“We need to play with the full support of the fans.”
Programming note: Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid will be shown LIVE on Tuesday at 2:45pm EST on FOX Sports 1 and FoxSoccer2Go.
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