‘Simeone has created a masterpiece’

Arrigo Sacchi describes Diego Simeone’s achievements at Atletico Madrid as ‘a masterpiece’ even though he doesn’t enjoy the style of play.

Atletico are in their second Champions League Final in three years, again against Real Madrid, and Sacchi is impressed Cholo has been able to produce good results despite having a pittance to work with compared to Los Blancos.

“He’s created a masterpiece. You have to admire Atletico because they are an example for everyone, not just in football. Having such a united, professional and determined group who gives everything, that’s exciting and you have to take off your hat to them,” the Italian, who coached Atleti and worked at Santiago Bernabeu, told AS.

“They’re facing a battleship with little more than a fishing boat. And they have immense energy. They have great value, they’re an example. They deserve their joy.

“Of course, my way of football is very different. There were 36 shots in Bayern Munich-Atletico and 33 of them were Bayern. If there were two teams playing like Atletico…what would happen? A game with six shots? For me the game of football should be more, but that doesn’t mean I don’t admire them.

“I’d like to know how many points Simeone has in Madrid derbies. Atletico have reached Madrid’s level with half the budget. On Saturday it will be a clear confrontation between the group and the individuals.”

Sacchi expanded on the idea that Madrid are a collection of individuals as he considered what went wrong for Rafa Benitez, and how Zinedine Zidane reversed the situation.

“Madrid have great players who don’t always play with the team and for the team. Zidane is very smart, a great professional. I wish him well. Madrid are one of those teams that doesn’t have a defined identity,” Sacchi noted.

“I don’t know what the players are giving Zidane they didn’t give Benitez. I guess Zizou has created a better atmosphere in the locker room, as Carlo Ancelotti did.”

Sacchi concluded by staying firmly on the fence ahead of the game at San Siro, citing his bond with both capital clubs.

“I have a great relationship with them both. I always support the team I’m more connected to. I’ll do the same on Saturday,” he said.

Tags Arrigo Sacchi Diego Simeone