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ATLÉTICO MADRID

Diego Simeone: "I like rebellious footballers"

El Cholo believes that VAR discriminiates against the bigger clubs: "Before, away at Real Madrid, Barcelona or Atlético, a rival would go down but play would continue".

Diego Simeone, entrenador del Atlético de Madrid
Refugio Ruiz Getty Images

Atlético Madrid coach Diego Simeone discussed the topics of the day at his club with La Nación  - including his style of play and Atleti's new status. "We're no longer a neighbourhood club".

The Simeone Way: "We have a very defined style, one which we have developed in a more visible way at other clubs. At Estudiantes, we implemented that style and it worked well - at Atlético Madrid too. I believe that the core essence of the team is fully understood by everyone - a child, a club employee or an old man... all of them know that they are going to see a strong, intense team. That is an principle which needs to be shaped and looked after, and the very essence has nothing to do with the way the team plays. Even with the best players around that shouldn't change but it's something can strengthen with the players we have right now".

Clubs with a model

Understanding club history: "When a coach first arrives at a club, we need to understand its history. If we don't understand it, then we're going to have a bad time. If I don't feel the spirit of a club, I don't go there. From the first moment you accept to join a club, the best thing you can do and the most respectful thing to do is ask yourself: "What is the history behind this club?". Ajax have a set model, a defined youth programme - Barcelona have one too, and Juventus. And Atlético de Madrid do too. Real Madrid don't - because they alternate developing their own players with signing talent. Then there are new clubs which are in the process of development like Guardiola's City, who don't have club history, but they are gradually taking on a model which Guardiola has instilled; he's set them on a path to follow".

Teaching players how to win: "The players are trained so that they can compete. We try to develop players from when they enter the club. Now we have a generational change at Atlético as we have players who have come through the system and who are now established - Giménez, Saúl, Koke, Thomas... And let's hope they can transmit their experiences to the next generation who are coming through. Now, they are the ones who have to be the leaders and show the way to the rest".

Rebel rebel

Types of players: "I like the rebels, the players who are the most difficult to deal with, because it's a challenge to change their mindset so that they can grow in their lives. Out on the pitch, players behave exactly as they do in life - the selfish player and the generous player are the same on and off the pitch".

VAR: Does VAR help? Yes. Does it go against the big teams or the small teams? It discriminates against the bigger teams because before, when visiting teams went to Madrid, Barcelona or Atlético, a rival would go down in your penalty area and play would continue; now, referees are forced to review it".

Renewing the team: "This is the moment when we need to form a new team, the old leaders - the ones who played every Sunday, have all gone and so we have to reinvent ourselves - and to do that we have to think only about the day-to-day and approach it one step at a time".

Neighbourhood team: "Now, with good management, a new stadium, great facilities, we are able to buy players like Thomas Lemar and João Félix. We aspire to develop players from the age of around 21 or 22, such as Giménez and Koke, so that a few years later they will be great players on the same level as Griezmann and Oblak etc. We are no longer a neighbourhood club".