BAYERN - ATLÉTICO DE MADRID
Trapattoni: "I love Simeone; 'tiki-taka' sends me to sleep"
Former Bayern Munich coach Trapattoni defended El Cholo Simeone ahead of his meeting with Guardiola's side. “Simeone's intensity means we're in for a thrilling spectacle" Atlético vs Real Madrid
Italy is in love with Diego Simeone. In the Bel Paese (Beautiful Country) 'cholismo' conjures up images of the golden age of Italian football, when competing with intensity meant victories - without fail. One of the great exponents of those beliefs was the legendary Giovanni Trapattoni, whose name often crops when whenever there is a mention of the Atlético coach. It's a comparison which Trap is proud of: “I love Simeone, and I don't think he would be offended if I said that his character is similar to mine, my teams had the same philosophy”, the Italian coach told AS.
The criticism which Atleti have received is unmerited, Trapattoni insists: “I'm not going to name names, but there are some teams which play the ball around for half an hour without a single shot on goal... that sends me to sleep! I prefer Simeone's way - a thousand times; he's someone who goes right down to the grain and always promises a thrilling spectacle with his intensity. Saying that his side plays badly is a massive lie”.
During his illustrious managerial career, Trapattoni also coach Bayern Munich for three seasons, winning the league, German Cup and German League Cup. He says that despite Atlético's one-goal advantage from last week's first leg, Simeone's side will suffer in Munich: "The strength to rise to the occasion and pull through in these big matches was ingrained in the DNA of my Bayern. For Simeone it's going to be a very tough match, but anything could happen: 90 minutes at Bayern's ground is a very long time”
Some Italian commentators have compared El Cholo's Atleti to Gigi Simoni's Inter Milan, who won the UEFA Cup and came close to clinching the Scudetto. Italian sports daily La Gazzetta claims that Simeone, or Il Comandante as they referred to him in a recent article with the coach depicted as a modern day Che Guevara, picked up a lot of tips during that time and there is a clear reflection of what he learned iin the current Atlético side. However Simoni, disagrees: “It was me who learned from him, not the other way around. Diego was already a coach even then. He would relay all of the analysis which he had done during the week before a game to his team mates. I'll never forget his determination.
“My Inter side had Simeone's spirit running righ through it - it was a team which would steal back possession then set Ronaldo [Nazário] off on one of his runs - our counter attacks were deadly. They were also exemplary off the field too”. Simoni added. “If Simeone had a more technically-gifted set of players, his team would be unstoppable; I really hope that one day he can do it at Inter. He promised to us that he would come back...”.
Simeone, who is under contract with Atlético until 2020, admitted that his Italian love affair is still not over when he spoke to Mediaset Premium radio last week: “I'l go back to Inter one day because I have great memories of my time there as a player and returning as a coach has always been on my agenda”.