Sacchi, 67, enjoyed spells with both the Rossoneri and Atletico Madrid during his managerial career, and helped Milan achieve successive European titles while at the club in the late 1980s. Although Atletico are currently sitting third in La Liga, level on points with Barcelona and Real Madrid, Sacchi believes the Italian giants have enough European experience to cause the Spanish side problems.

“Atletico is a very strong team. A real one,” Sacchi told Spanish newspaper Marca. “They play with very clear ideas. I’ve seen them play a few times this season and they are spectacular. The game they had against Real Madrid in the league at the Bernabeu really impressed me. They won, deservedly so. It is a very strong side, very well connected, who imposes a high rhythm, with great collaboration between all of the players. The collective play is at the highest level.

“Today, Atletico is the favorite; however, be careful with Milan. We are talking about a team with much experience in Europe. A team that has won seven European Cups/Champions League titles. It’s evident Milan is not going through a good time, but they have players of the highest level who can overturn the balance.”

Sacchi was also keen to credit Rojiblancos coach Diego Simeone for his work with the club. Elevating his side to the top of La Liga, the 67-year-old praised the young manager’s organization, as well as revealing an admiration for his star striker Diego Costa.

“He is a fury. I’m enchanted by his strength, aggressiveness and fight,” Saachi said of Costa. “He is a modern attacker. He has deployment both in attack and defense. There are many good strikers who only manage a few concepts of play and only move in one direction. But not him. He gives you a lot up top and also in the defensive end.

“Cholo’s [Simeone] work has been fantastic. There isn’t a more organized side in Europe than Atletico. It’s fluidity in attack isn’t always optimal; however, if they exercise pressure on their rival, their style is to tighten down things. They have a great defensive organization.”