REAL MADRID - ATLÉTICO

Zidane and Simeone first and only derby as players

The two men will be in opposing dug-outs today but they did cross swords on the pitch in a Madrid derby – a memorable one for various reasons.

Zidane and Simeone first and only derby as players

Zinedine Zidane and Diego Simeone will be in opposing dug-outs for the first time this afternoon as their teams scrap it out in the 263rd Madrid derby at the Bernabéu. Both spent time at their respective clubs as players but only coincided during two seasons and met just once on the field of play in a derby – at the Bernabéu on Wednesday 3 December 2003.

It was a memorable occasion for number of reasons. In the Madrid line-up was summer signing David Beckham who must have been feeling slightly apprehensive at the prospect of coming face to face with El Cholo for the first time since their incident at World Cup France 98. It was special too for Iván Zamorano; the Chilean striker, who scored 100 goals in four seasons at Madrid had decided to call it a day and took the honorary kick-off. Just 14 seconds later, Madrid were in the lead. Ronaldo Nazário scampered onto a raking pass to poke the ball past Mono Burgos and register the fastest goal ever scored in this fixture. As some fans were still piling into the stadium and press box to take their seats, many didn’t even see the goal.

Another deep ball into the Atleti half produced a second goal on 21 minutes – Raúl gaining an extra yard on Burgos to send a header looping into the visitors’ net. It was a nightmare for Simeone who struggled to deal with the pace of Madrid’s front two but at least there was no bad blood with Beckham in their reencounter: “Simeone’s a good lad, no problem”, the Madrid midfielder told those in the Mixed Zone after the game.