Simeone: ‘Madrid fans respect me’

Diego Simeone says that fans of cross-city rivals Real Madrid respect him – even if they do not necessarily like him.

In an extensive interview granted to fifa.com, the Argentine told of how opposition fans in the Spanish capital react to him after the success he has brought Atletico Madrid in recent seasons.

“I imagine they’ve got mixed feelings. On the one hand I’m sure they don’t like me, yet on the other I get shown a lot of respect when I’m out on the street.

“I get a lot of people coming up to me saying 'I’m a Real Madrid fan, but I’d honestly like to congratulate you. I like the way your guys work and how much of a team they are'.

“I think that recently Atletico have shown something that people need in their everyday lives, which is energy.”

Simeone was asked about the coaching role with Argentina and whether he had ever thought of becoming national team boss.

“In coaching terms, I think it’s a place for a grandfather – someone more serene and composed who can see things in a different way. I still feel I need to be on the pitch, getting involved in training and being with the players day-in, day-out.

“The national team can’t give you that. Is it something I’d like to do one day? Absolutely!

“I spent 12 or 14 years with the team. It was a privileged time and very much part of my life. Hopefully it will come to pass at the perfect time for both parties,” he admitted.

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