Atlético Madrid manager Diego Simeone gave an extensive interview to Buenos Aires-based Diario Olé earlier this week. Here are some of the top quotes.
On whether he’s always thinking about football
“I always say football is something that is impossible to get rid, no matter what the distraction is. If you go to the cinema, it’s true that if the film lasts an hour and a half, it may be great. But in the course of the film, or at a moment where it’s slowed down a bit, you start to think who plays, if João Félix plays or Ángel Correa plays.
“It’s hard to explain to the one next to you. But in your head you don’t stop thinking, even if you rest or go to sleep. And many times, my way to relax or go to sleep is by imagining how the team can be formed.”
A day (or week) in the life as Atlético’s manager
“In the morning, before training, we meet on Zoom, for a review of what we are going to do, because we practice at 11. Afterward, we talk about the next day’s tasks, how we are going to prepare. And in the meantime, we (assistant coaches Hernán Bonvicini and Nelson Vivas) call each other a thousand times because we’re always thinking.
“I always tell them when the week starts that we are going to play in one way, but when I finalize the team, it’s almost certainly not the same as I said on Monday. That is a bit of what we are and how we find the best solutions.”
On his longevity along the Atlético touchline
“I don’t care what game we’re playing, if it’s a friendly, Copa del Rey, Champions League final, Europa League...we have to compete. Because tomorrow in the newspaper and around the world, Atlético Madrid and their latest result will appear. It doesn’t matter who played or against whom (the team played), but whether Atlético Madrid won or lost.
“(We have to) show how each training session is a search to improve, to demand, to be on top of the player so that he doesn’t feel that we have been here for 10 years. So that instead, he feels that if we lose four games, they can kick us out of the club.”
On the drive to win and his defensive reputation
“If you’re not ready to compete like this, leave the position to someone else. The coach and the players are not indispensable. The club is indispensable.
“In the beginning, we had Atlético fighting in a space reserved for Madrid and Barcelona, and to get in we had to do it that way. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have reached that level. Impossible.”
On attempting to sign Lionel Messi over the summer
“I’ll tell you a detail. After what happened to (Messi) in Barcelona, I called Luis (Suárez), with all due respect, to ask him how Messi was, if he was keen, to see if there was a chance, imagining that he could come to Atlético. I mean, I didn’t call Leo, I called Luis.
“But that situation lasted three hours, because PSG were obviously already obsessed with signing him.”