Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone rates the mouth-watering Champions League final against city rivals Real Madrid as “50-50”.
Simeone’s men saw off two of the tournament favourites in Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the quarter and semi-finals, and a repeat of the 2014 showpiece was set when Real Madrid overcame Manchester City on Wednesday to book their place at San Siro.
Two years ago, an injury-time equaliser from Sergio Ramos forced extra time and Madrid went on to win 4-1 to complete La Decima, but in general it is Atletico who have enjoyed the upper hand in the derby.
In 10 competitive matches since that clash in Lisbon, Atletico have lost just once to their fierce rivals – a 1-0 Champions League reverse last April that sent Real Madrid in the semi-finals.
Atletico triumphed 1-0 the last time the sides met at Santiago Bernabeu in February, but Simeone says there will be nothing to split the teams when they meet on May 28.
“The final against Real Madrid is 50-50, we both know each other well,” Simeone told Radio La Red. “The aim is winning the final.”
Atletico have continued to compete at the highest level despite seeing their top players cherry picked by the big spenders in European football and Simeone is delighted that his team are still upsetting the odds.
“We’re showing to the people that it’s possible. It’s about life more than football,” he added. “We’re very strong defending, but also we scored out of the Calderon [against Bayern], that is not easy.
“We’ve changed many players, but, fortunately, the new ones who’ve joined have got used very fast to the team. My team feels very identified with us, I’m very lucky to have them.”
Simeone has been in charge at Atletico since December 2011, but has spoken in the past of a desire to take charge of Inter, having represented them during his playing days.
The 46-year-old reiterated that stance and also expressed his interest at coaching another former club Lazio, as well as Argentina, after earning 106 caps for his country.
“I’d like to be coach of Inter, Lazio and Argentina,” He said. “But I’m not desperate. It’s going to happen.”