Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has credited coach Diego Simeone with changing the standing of the club.
Simeone’s Atletico travel to Barcelona for the first leg of a Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday, while they lie six points behind the defending champions in La Liga.
The tie evokes memories of Atleti overcoming Barcelona at the same stage in 2013-14 – the season when they famously secured the Spanish title with a final-day draw at Camp Nou.
Speaking to Al Primer Toque Onda Cero, Cerezo reflected on the shrewd move of bringing Simeone back to a team the Argentina international represented during his playing days.
“Cholo [Simeone] has changed the life of Atletico,” Cerezo said. “It was right to bring him here.
“I believe Simeone will be here a long time. When he leaves we will say it in a timely and orderly way.
“At the moment all the players want to play at Atletico Madrid, and all clubs want our players. Simeone is very important for players to come here.”
Cerezo conceded the draw might have been kinder than to pit Atletico against a Barcelona side that have won both Liga encounters 2-1 this season, but feels the players will approach the match with confidence.
“It’s a shame that we were drawn against Barcelona, but once the draw is made all you think about is beating one of the best teams in the world,” he added.
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