Los Rojiblancos travel to England to lock horns with the Premier League champions today ahead of tomorrow night’s game.
And it’s a big one; the quarter-final of the Champions League. Atletico will be keen to put in a strong performance at the Etihad Stadium and earn a good result before the second leg.
And they’re in good form.
After a poor start to the season Diego Simeone’s men have surged to third in La Liga, overtaking Sevilla this weekend. They’re now level on points with Barcelona as well as Sevilla. League leaders Real Madrid are 12 points clear.
City are top of the Premier League, doing a much better job of defending their title than Atletico are. But they’re far from running away with the league; Liverpool are just a point behind.
Atletico knocked Manchester United out of the Champions League in the last 16 while City made light work of Sporting Lisbon.
Simeone has only met Pep Guardiola once in the Champions League before; when Atletico beat Bayern Munich in the semi-final of the 2016 edition. But their history runs deeper than that.
Simeone visited Guardiola at Barcelona during the 2010/11 season when La Blaugrana were at their absolute peak. The Argentine hadn’t taken over at Atletico at that point and the two got deep into the weeds of how the game should be played.
Simeone, however, didn’t entirely agree with everything Guardiola had to say and it soon became clear that these two deep-thinking football men had different ideas about how the game should be played. Guardiola was impressed by his counterpart, however.
“This son of a b**** will be good,” was what the Catalan thought according to comments he made in a new documentary about Simeone called Living Match by Match as per The Independent.