Simeone: Hard to prepare for "animal" Ronaldo

The Atlético Madrid coach has hailed Cristiano Ronaldo as "an animal in front of goal" ahead of his side's Champions League crunch tie with Juventus.

Simeone: Hard to prepare for "animal" Ronaldo
Juan Manuel Serrano Arce Getty Images

Six months on since Cristian Ronaldo’s second leg hat-trick that knocked Atletico Madrid out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage against all odds, Diego Simeone has spoken about the difficulty in preparing to face a player with the Portuguese star’s ferocious ability.

Simeone’s men will be eager to avenge that awful March night in Turin when they welcome Juventus to the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday, where both sides will look to get a head start in the battle to top group D.

And ahead of the game, the Argentine coach, who enraged Ronaldo and his Juve team mates with his lewd goal celebration in the first leg of the quarter final tie last season, spoke of the threat posed by his former Real Madrid foe.

“It's hard to prepare something against a player like him,” said Simeone.

“He is a goal scoring animal with a tremendous record. Anything that can happen near the area is danger. He has aerial game, long shot and we have to win and lose against him, but obviously he is an animal in front of the goal.”

Simeone recieved a UEFA charge for his "big balls" celebration last season.

Goal celebration issue resolved - Simeone

Asked whether he regretted his infamous celebration in the first leg last season, a gesture which was mockingly imitated by Ronaldo as he netted his hat trick in the second leg, Simeone replied: “It has all been resolved”.

“When Cristiano made the same gesture I imagine he felt the same as me,” he added.

Ronaldo has scored 25 goals in 33 games against Diego Simeone’s Atletico to date, and will no doubt be looking to add more to that tally at the Wanda on Wednesday night.