REAL MADRID-ATLÉTICO MADRID
Real Madrid: Ancelotti praises Simeone ahead of derby game
Real Madrid host rivals Atletico Madrid at the Bernabéu on Sunday, with Los Blancos already 10 points clear of the reigning LaLiga champions.
Carlo Ancelotti sees no need to assess the impact Diego Simeone has had at Atlético Madrid and can only hope to replicate the Argentine's longevity.
Ancelotti returned to Madrid for his second spell as coach in June, after leaving Everton.
He has overseen something of a resurgence after a disappointing campaign last season, with Los Blancos sitting pretty at the top of LaLiga with 39 points from their 16 games.
Reigning champions Atleti visit the Santiago Bernabéu on Sunday (avaliable on ESPN+ for subscribers in the US) for the first Madrid derby of the season. Simeone's men sit 10 points behind Ancelotti's side in fourth place, albeit with a game in hand.
Ancelotti and Simeone have met 15 times previously across all competitions. The Italian has managed five wins to Simeone's four, while six of the encounters were drawn.
However, none of Ancelotti's victories have come in LaLiga, with Simeone's Atleti winning three times out of four – the other game resulting in a draw.
Indeed, Simeone is the only coach that Ancelotti has faced on four or more occasions in LaLiga without winning, though he did enjoy a famous win over Atleti in the 2014 Champions League final, as Madrid clinched "La Decima".
Ancelotti: "Simeone has put Atleti among the best clubs in Europe"
"I am not the one who has to say what Simeone has done at Atlético," Ancelotti told a news conference on Saturday.
"He has put Atleti among the best clubs in Europe. What has happened with Simeone is what all the coaches want, to stay in a club for a long time and leave their mark on the club.
"It is the dream of any coach. Hopefully it can happen to me at Madrid."
If Ancelotti really does wish to stay for a sustained spell at Madrid, then he is off to a strong start – Los Blancos have lost just one league game this term and have finished top of their Champions League group – although the 62-year-old has not spent longer than two years at any club since leaving Milan in 2009.
Ancelotti has managed in most of Europe's biggest rival matches, from the Merseyside and Milan derbies to Der Klassiker and El Clásico, but he insists Madrid must keep a lid on their emotions on Sunday in order to claim the points.
"It is three points. Then the emotional aspect, which is playing a derby against a direct rival," he added.
"It is clear that this is going to put more pressure on both teams. It is a game that all the fans feel in a particular way, but in the table there are three points [on offer]."
Asked if a victory would put Madrid well in control of the title race, Ancelotti replied: "We will have three more points over an opponent who will fight to the end to win this competition.
"I don't want to put more pressure on this game than it already is.
"We have shown that we have done better than the other teams to date. But the league does not end today, we have to play for six more months and I don't know what can happen. So far we have done better, but we are concerned about the future, not the past."
Ancelotti did not win LaLiga during his first stint at Madrid, and conceded he has unfinished business in that regard.
"I would value it like the other titles we have won," he said.
"The Champions League is the most important competition in Europe and the world. LaLiga is also an important title and it is true that not having won it here gives me more motivation."