Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone believes the club’s on-field success comes down to feeling as more than just a team, but also a part of a family.
Since taking over four years ago Simeone has transformed the club into one of the biggest in Europe.
Atletico won the 2013-14 La Liga season and also finished runners-up in the Champions League in the same campaign.
Simeone hailed the atmosphere within the club and believes the players and staff feel like they are part of a family.
“Nobody’s bigger than the club. I feel very loved and respected”, he told El Pais.
“The hardest thing in life is reinventing yourself and staying at the top of your game, whilst the hardest thing in football is finding that club you want to stay at.
“[Diego] Godín and Juanfran wanted to stay, Gabi is still playing well, Filipe [Luis], Óliver [Torres] and [Fernando] Torres wanted to come back and [Antoine] Griezmann is already part of the family.
“More than a team we’re a family, a close-knit family.”
The Argentine coach also spoke about his “continuous challenge” to make Atletico one of the best teams in the world.
“I have a continuous challenge since I got on a plane on December 25 four years ago and that was to reposition Atletico as one of the best in the world,” he said.
“How? It’s annoying, with the essence of the club, with the football the team has because there is history and it’s hard to change it.
“You can say: ‘I would love to play like Barcelona’. But we are not Barcelona and we will never be.
“If you want to bring that style of play it’s very hard because you’re going to lose your history, your essence, and you must make a force to become a big club in your own way.”
Atletico are equal top of La Liga on 35 points, however Barcelona have a game in hand.
Simeone’s men will be looking to bounce back against Rayo Vallecano after their 1-0 loss to Malaga on Sunday.