Diego Simeone has spoken of his “admiration and respect” for Sergio Ramos and would “choose” the defender, despite his criticism of the Atletico Madrid boss.
Ramos accused Simeone of the acting the victim in a radio interview on Thursday, but Simeone gracefully looked beyond the defender’s words as the Coach felt he was entitled to his opinion and made it clear he would have liked to manage the stopper at some point.
“Ramos’ opinions are his,” he said at a Press conference ahead of Atleti’s match against Malaga in La Liga on Saturday.
“I admire him, I respect him and it’s clear that if we [Coaches] could choose players to have in a squad, [Ramos] would be one that almost all the Coaches would choose.
“Javi Gracia teams always make for great matches. I consider him to be a very good Coach so we always prepare for a tight game [against a Gracia team].
“You can say this has been a better season than the last one because of the numbers are, but there’s still much to play and talking about what can happen wouldn’t be good because we’d limit ourselves.
“[On Fernando Torres continuing his form], I always expect the best of my players.
“[Diego Godin] is very important in the hierarchy within the squad, but we have players with great enthusiasm and [Jose Maria] Gimenez is back with us.
“The others are responding very well, but we still hope he recovers in the best way possible.
“When you find yourselves in these situations, your opponents have needs of their own and playing against Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico remains a big deal for any player.
“[Malaga] are a very defined team, who compete very well, concede very little and work as a unit in intense games.
“In our situation, it’s logical and normal that everyone wants to put on a great game.
“[On Lucas Hernandez], he’s in great form. He’s been with us for a while and had the luck and difficulty of playing alongside great centre-backs.
“Yet, he’s always worked hard and wanted to improve, and his best trait is that he’s not afraid.
“The stadium will be full, we’ll be playing a very important game and we must be prepared for just this one.
“We have a group of lads in the dressing room who are working in accordance of what the clubs need.
“On top of that is a team effort, which has prompted the likes of [Angel] Correa, [Luciano] Vietto, [Fernando] Torres and [Jesus] Gamez to level up.
“The power of the team lies in the individualities of each player, and this is always the biggest positive.”