Tag Archives: Diego Simeone

Barca one win away from title after Atletico collapse at Real Sociedad

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FC Barcelona are one win away from a 25th Spanish La Liga title after Atletico Madrid lost by 3-0 at Real Sociedad.

Diego Simeone’s side team second best throughout and fell behind when Willian Jose turned home a cutback by winger Adnan Januzaj, while substitute Juanmi made it 2-0 late on when he drove in before getting his second in stoppage time with a chip.

Barcelona will win the La Liga title with victory at Deportivo La Coruna on 29 April, after finishing second last season, three points behind rivals Real Madrid.

Atletico hosts fifth-placed Real Betis on Sunday with the chance to close the gap to Barca back to nine points, but only if Barca does not win.

Second-placed Atletico, who are now 12 points behind Barcelona with five games remaining, would travel to Arsenal in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on 26 April but carry a concerning streak in regards to away games, as demonstrated by their rout at Real Sociedad, with Simeone putting the blame on concentration issues.

“We have to take a good look at our away form and be more alert and attentive because we are letting ourselves down on the road,” Simeone said after the game.

“Today we did not play a good first half. We improved at the start of the second half, but we did not have the consistency to get closer on the scoreboard.”

“We have to look at what happened, but congratulate Real Sociedad on their deserved win.”

Diego Simeone praises Lionel Messi after La Liga draw

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Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has showered praise upon FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi after the forward starred in a draw with Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Although Saul Niguez and Luis Suarez were on the scoresheet as Atletico Madrid took on Barca in the 1-1 draw, Messi had great influence in the game — first striking the post in the second half and then playing a role in building Barca’s momentum ahead of Suarez’s late equaliser after Saul unleashed an unstoppable attempt beyond him from 25 yards in the 21st minute.

After the game, Simeone singled out his compatriot — who also fired Argentina to the 2018 World Cup with a hat-trick against Ecuador earlier — for particular praise as he revelled in the occasion at Wanda Metropolitano.

“The stadium was wonderful, we had another night of brilliant football, and with the impressive Messi — extraordinary,” Simeone said. “Messi was the only one who you could see where, every time he touched the ball, something different could happen.”

“He was certainly not as tired as many expected after the trip [from international duty in South America] because he played a tremendous match.”

Meanwhile, French forward Antoine Griezmann failed to find the net at the Wanda for the first time for Atleti, but Simeone believed this was his best performance at the stadium yet.

Indeed, Griezmann had to be denied twice by Barca keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, first by a fine one-handed save at his near post after Andrés Iniesta gave away the ball again, this time with his left leg, after the Frenchman had driven into the box by nutmegging Gerard Pique.

“For me, this was the best game that Griezmann has had at home,” he said. “He twice worked the goalkeeper, he countered with [Angel] Correa and he held the ball up well.”

“It was a great game between two teams with different characteristics. Our first half was very good, the goalkeeper [ter Stegen] was key. From the 60th minute, Barca attacked with more clarity due to their need to score.”

Diego Simeone plays down Diego Costa transfer links

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Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has refused to be drawn into speculations that links Chelsea’s Diego Costa with his club.

Costa, who had been a part of Simeone’s team before his switch to Chelsea in the summer of 2014, became unsettled with the Blues at the turn of this year, with current Chelsea coach Antonio Conte informing the player that he does not play a part in the Italian’s plans.

At present, Costa looks headed for a return to the Spanish capital, and even went live on social media wearing an Atletico jersey during his summer break at Brazil.

However, he does not look headed for a return to La Liga anytime soon as Atletico are currently under a FIFA transfer ban. With the club already forcing through a controversial move for Sevilla winger Vitolo, Simeone seemed reluctant to entertain the links for a Costa move when addressing the media after a 3-2 friendly win at Brighton and Hove Albion.

“I don’t want to comment too much,” he said during the press conference after the game. “The fact is he is still with Chelsea. The most important thing to me is the work of my club in general, not only in training. I have to work with what I have.”

“When I found there was no other possibility to get new players at the club I accepted it. Maybe I could improve the quality, but for the moment with this team I can work very well and I’m satisfied with that.”

But there could yet be hope for Costa even as Chelsea insists that the player has been aware of their position on his future since January this year, with AC Milan sporting director Marco Fassone saying that he has held talks with the player’s agent Jorge Mendes.

 

Saul Niguez signs record nine-year contract with Atletico Madrid

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Spain and Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez has signed a nine-year contract — one of the longest in football history — that will allow him to stay with the club until June 2026.

Niguez, 22, has been an influential figure for both club and country in the past two seasons, helping Atletico reach the Champions League semi-finals in the last season.

Just last week, Niguez also helped Spain enter the European Under-21 Championship final. He was then awarded the Golden Boot of the tournament for scoring five goals in five matches as well as a runners-up medal after a slim 1-0 defeat to Germany.

A product of Atletico’s youth system, Niguez had played 53 games for Atletico last season, scoring nine goals, four of which were in the Champions League.

“I am very happy because at Atletico we are a family and there is no better place to be,” Niguez said in a statement. “I will work my full potential on the field as always to pay back the trust that the club is giving to me.”

“I’d like to thank all my team-mates and the coaching staff for their help day by day so that I can be the player I am today.”

Atletico are subject to a transfer ban until January 2018 following a failed appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS). For them, keeping key players such as Niguez and Antoine Griezmann — the latter of whom signed a one-year contract extension this summer — were key for Atletico to stay competitive in the next season.

It was also worth noting that since Niguez was under a long term contract before signing his new deal, it gestures how highly he is rated by Atletico’s manager, Diego Simeone.