Atletico Madrid Coach Diego Simeone believes Champions League final opponents Real Madrid are the best team in the world.
El Cholo was speaking at a Press conference prior to tonight’s game in Lisbon and said that despite Atleti claiming La Liga a week ago, it is Los Blancos who are the team at the highest level.
“Real Madrid are very complete for my taste. They can have a collective game, teamwork, counter-attack, they can control the ball, have a great defence, a good goalkeeper,” Marca reports Simeone as saying.
“They’re the best team in the world, if I’m not mistaken, if that ranking is done.
“We are going to face a team that is ranked No.1 in the world.”
Simeone also warned against assuming the Madrid who take to the field tonight is the same one Atleti beat earlier in the season.
“Madrid aren’t the same as the one we played in Santiago Bernabeu. Today they are a much more competitive opponent and they work a lot harder,” the Argentine added.
“At that moment the Coach, and he is a great Coach, was finding the balance needed to beat teams and we could hit them because we were more organised.
“It’s the game I like most but we won’t find that game again.”
It’s seven days since Atletico were crowned champions of Spain with a draw at Camp Nou and Simeone acknowledged that his players marked their success, but stressed they were professional with the next game in mind.
“They have enjoyed and celebrated as they have to do and then have worked as always thinking about the next game, analysing the opponent and looking for alternatives that lead us to compete better,” he insisted.
“There’s no other way to play than how we have been doing. We are aware of our strengths and our flaws.
“We are a compact and competitive team. We can dominate the game with possession, or using the spaces, or on the counter-attack.
“We come from a very nice win in the League but there is another page for a unique game.”
Atletico go into the fixture with question marks over some important players and Simeone offered the latest on Diego Costa and Arda Turan.
The Coach was asked if the pair would have been involved had the game been played a day earlier, Simeone replying that everything possible would have been done in the build-up.
“If we had played the final on Friday then we would have prepared on Thursday and Friday,” he said.
“The motivational part must move away from the outside and to playing the game. If Diego or Arda play, they’re just names.
“If they don’t play there are other guys who know what to do.
“This group has boosted a coaching staff that came two-and-a-half years ago full of hope.
“The hardest thing to do is to transmit what you feel and they have conveyed the feeling we have for sport, having passion, humility, commitment and dedication.
“[They have] entered a place that goes beyond the sportsman.”