Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has saluted “absolute winner” Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid’s winning mentality ahead of the Supercopa de Espana final.
Madrid and Atletico go head-to-head in Jeddah on Sunday as they tussle for the first trophy of the Spanish season.
The revamped Supercopa has received plenty of criticism due to it taking place in Saudi Arabia and including teams that otherwise would not have been involved in previous years, as the competition used to be contested between the winners of the Copa del Rey and LaLiga.
Neither Madrid nor Atletico won either competition last term, yet they will play out the final, with Simeone well aware of Los Blancos’ obsession with winning.
Zidane may be without several high-profile players but, after they dispatched Valencia easily, Simeone does not think such absences will be a factor.
“Madrid are a team we know very well, they have a coach who is an absolute winner,” Simeone told reporters on Saturday.
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“Every time they play, they transmit that they have to win and they do win. They are without [Karim] Benzema, [Gareth] Bale and [Eden] Hazard, but that doesn’t change a thing, they’ll be looking to field their strongest side.
“Their distribution is excellent and they’ll have players arriving to join the attack from midfield.
“They’ve got Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo [Goes], and if they play the team will have more velocity and more possession, so we will have to think about how we can attack those positions and punish them in the way we want.”
In Zidane’s pre-match news conference, the Frenchman insisted he is a better coach now than when he guided Madrid to three successive Champions League crowns – beating Atletico to lift the first of those in 2015-16.
Simeone has a similar feeling for his own abilities, convinced he is getting better with age.
“It’s like life itself, we improve with age,” he said. “All of the experience you build up with time helps you to develop.
“I think I’ve grown in life and in sport, and I’m a believer that you can’t really separate the two.”
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