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Ramos admires Champions League final rival Simeone

SoccerNews in UEFA Champions League 5 May 2016

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Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos is prepared for an uncomfortable Champions League final against Atletico Madrid and their coach Diego Simeone, for whom he has “special affection”.

Madrid closed out a 1-0 win over Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday to join their local rivals in the final in Milan later this month.

Simeone has previously stated he would be happy to have Spain centre-back Ramos in his defensively obdurate team and the admiration is mutual.

“I am happy to say I wish the best to El Cholo [Simeone], who wants a Ramos in his team,” the 30-year-old told reporters.

“In the end, we are rivals but I have a special affection for him.”

The San Siro clash will be a repeat of the 2014 final, where Madrid claimed their 10th European crown – La Decima – in an extra-time triumph.

“The game with Atletico will perhaps be more uncomfortable,” Ramos said.

“Against Bayern they defended very well, leaving few spaces. We are not thinking of them, thinking of us and not making mistakes.”

Progress to the final seemed unlikely back in January, when Madrid dismissed Rafael Benitez with their season appearing on the brink of collapse.

But the appointment of club icon Zinedine Zidane as coach has had a galvanising effect, much to the delight of the long-serving Ramos.

“It is clear that football has the good side and the bad,” he added. “We had to be united, be a team, suffer and that is the only way to find success.

“We have done a great job and enjoy such a special moment.”

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