Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has hailed Barcelona as “the best team in the world” and spoken of his pride at seeing Arda Turan prosper since swapping clubs.
Speaking at a Press conference ahead of Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash at Camp Nou, the Coach also reflected on his failure to get one over Luis Enrique, Jackson Martinez’s lack of goals, the reported divide over Fernando Torres and the ‘MSN’.
“It’s a great game and also an important one,” he began.
“[On not having beaten Enrique], I’m not playing against Luis Enrique.
“Atletico are playing against Barcelona, and we’ll try to take the chances we get.
“[On a lack of goals], I appreciate the team like I always have.
“We’re in an important position in the League, but we were knocked out of the Copa [del Rey] because Celta were better than us, while the Champions League offers many possibilities.
“I see the team in a good way, who will hopefully maintain their recent form and the competitiveness which we’ve always shown in important matches.
“We expect the same of [Jackson] as all our forwards, bar [Antoine] Griezmann.
“Beyond the goals, we value effort, collective performance and the [individual] contributions made to the team.
“We hope Jackson can change his situation, which isn’t normal, because he’s always scored goals.
“You never know when it’ll happen, but it will sometime.
"The players who join Barcelona have deserved to do so for their hard work, [Aleix] Vidal from Sevilla and Arda [Turan] from us.
“[Arda] gave us everything, was always true to our work and we have great memories of him.
“They’ve both reached Barcelona, and it makes me happy as a Coach.
“[On Torres], the fans are most concerned about the team winning. The fans love us both unconditionally
“They never stop thinking about Luis Aragones, who has gone, Kiko [Narvaez] who no longer plays…
“The fans always hold affection for their idols, and Fernando is one today and forever.
“I don’t think there’s a division between us among the fans.
“This season, the forwards’ numbers haven’t been what we expected, but Saul [Niguez has scored, [Angel] Correa has scored, plus Gabi and Koke, and that’s healthy.
“We’ll seek the most appropriate game. We have the ability to play with Jackson and Griezmann up top, or [Luciano] Vietto, Griezmann and [Yannick] Carrasco as we have been, with more speed.
“Luis Enrique’s work has been fantastic. He’s been involved with his players and it’s not easy to continue competing this season like they did in the last.
“They almost always play in the same way, give value to everything and compete.
“We’re not afraid [of Barca’s] three forwards, all of whom are at a high level, and that demands a very high level of concentration from us. [Luis] Suarez has enhanced their entire system.
“The beauty of the trident is that there’s no envy, they’re healthy and happy. For those who like football, it’s wonderful.
“They’re the best team in the world and these three show complicity.
“It’s rare to see a trio like them without envy, jealousy or selfishness.”