Diego Simeone believes Radamel Falcao is a better striker and a more complete player than Hugo Sanchez.
The Atletico Madrid boss was asked in an interview with AS whether the Colombian hitman, scorer of a first-half hat-trick in the European Super Cup success over Chelsea, could ever compare with the former Atletico and Real Madrid player.
“For me Falcao is as good as Sanchez, if not better,” replied Simeone. “Hugo was Hugo but Falcao has great qualities. In every game he goes out to do better than in the previous one, to score one goal more.
“He has a hunger and intuition in the area that I’ve only seen once before, and that was in Sanchez. He is a goalscorer like Hugo, but he is a more complete player.
“I say that because I knew Radamel from River Plate before he even came to Europe. I’m sure he will get even better and become number one in the world.
“He is already among a group of top finishers including Higuain, Rooney and Benzema, and he is well up there, but I hope he will become number one in his position and that he will do so with Atletico.”
Although Real Madrid have always had more money and resources than their near neighbours, Simeone acknowledged that Los Rojiblancos have traditionally been the team that has unearthed the best strikers.
“Torres, Hasselbaink, Vieri, Kun, Forlan, not to mention playmakers such as Juninho and Futre. And now Radamel Falcao.
“Yes, it’s true this club has been successful, and it has done it with imagination. A lot of those players were risky bets, but with good sense.
“In Kun Aguero’s case they took him very young while Falcao was nearby in Portugal, but it was still Atletico that took the risk. This club has always had the knack with forwards, always.”
The Argentine’s contract with Los Colchoneros expires next June, but he is already looking ahead and hopes to continue with the club beyond that.
“My intention is to carry on, to renovate, but we’ll have to see. I don’t want to mention offers from other clubs because right now my priority is to discuss it with Atletico.
“We’ll have to be patient. Coaches depend upon results and in football things can change quickly, for the best and the worst, but what is clear is that I have Atletico in my head and my heart – and it shows.”
Simeone also spoke of how things had changed at the club, with a top-six finish achieved last term allied to Europa League success and now Supercup triumph.
“Work and humility have been crucial. Luis Aragones once said that the better you train the better you play. So there is no secret, just this and commitment.
“Commitment is the partner who sits next to you in the dugout, who runs next to you on the pitch, is with you as a Coach and as a fan in the stands…that’s Atletico’s unity and commitment, and people learn quickly when they come here.
“It’s a philosophy that overtakes you and I felt it from the first day I set foot in this club,” he concluded.