Simeone in awe of Zidane and Madrid's winning mentality

By Sports Desk January 11, 2020

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has saluted "absolute winner" Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid's winning mentality ahead of the Supercopa de Espana final.

Madrid and Atletico go head-to-head in Jeddah on Sunday as they tussle for the first trophy of the Spanish season.

The revamped Supercopa has received plenty of criticism due to it taking place in Saudi Arabia and including teams that otherwise would not have been involved in previous years, as the competition used to be contested between the winners of the Copa del Rey and LaLiga.

Neither Madrid nor Atletico won either competition last term, yet they will play out the final, with Simeone well aware of Los Blancos' obsession with winning.

Zidane may be without several high-profile players but, after they dispatched Valencia easily, Simeone does not think such absences will be a factor.

"Madrid are a team we know very well, they have a coach who is an absolute winner," Simeone told reporters on Saturday.

"Every time they play, they transmit that they have to win and they do win. They are without [Karim] Benzema, [Gareth] Bale and [Eden] Hazard, but that doesn't change a thing, they'll be looking to field their strongest side.

"Their distribution is excellent and they'll have players arriving to join the attack from midfield.

"They've got Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo [Goes], and if they play the team will have more velocity and more possession, so we will have to think about how we can attack those positions and punish them in the way we want."

In Zidane's pre-match news conference, the Frenchman insisted he is a better coach now than when he guided Madrid to three successive Champions League crowns – beating Atletico to lift the first of those in 2015-16.

Simeone has a similar feeling for his own abilities, convinced he is getting better with age.

"It's like life itself, we improve with age," he said. "All of the experience you build up with time helps you to develop.

"I think I've grown in life and in sport, and I'm a believer that you can't really separate the two."

Related items

  • European Super League: JP Morgan says it 'clearly misjudged' deal European Super League: JP Morgan says it 'clearly misjudged' deal

    JP Morgan, the investment bank who had agreed to back the breakaway European Super League, has vowed to learn from a saga it "clearly misjudged".

    The New York-based company was said to have committed €3.25billion to fund the controversial project.

    But plans for the competition, which was officially revealed by the 12 founding clubs last weekend, fell through within 48 hours of the announcement after England's 'big six' pulled out.

    Pressure from fans, players, coaches, governing bodies, governments and the media built up on the clubs due to the anti-competitive nature of a tournament intended to rival UEFA's Champions League model.

    The dozen founders would have been guaranteed participation each year regardless of performances in their domestic leagues.

    Only LaLiga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona still appear committed to the proposal with Juventus - keen supporters, led by chairman Andrea Agnelli - acknowledging the initial version of the Super League will not work.

    JP Morgan said in a statement released on Friday: "We clearly misjudged how this deal would be viewed by the wider football community and how it might impact them in the future. We will learn from this."

    Sustainability rating agency Standard Ethics had earlier downgraded JP Morgan from an "adequate" rating to "non-compliant" following the episode.

    "Standard Ethics judges both the orientations shown by the football clubs involved in the project and those of the US bank to be contrary to sustainability best practices," it said.

  • Rumour Has It: Man Utd tempt Cristiano Ronaldo with Old Trafford return Rumour Has It: Man Utd tempt Cristiano Ronaldo with Old Trafford return

    Between 2003 and 2009, Cristiano Ronaldo won three Premier League titles and the Champions League among other honours at Manchester United.

    Ronaldo has since gone on to play for Real Madrid and Juventus, but he could be set for an Old Trafford reunion.

    Watch this space…

     

    TOP STORY – UNITED MAKE RONALDO CONTACT

    Manchester United have made contact with Cristiano Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes over a return to Old Trafford, according to the front page of Friday's Gazzetta dello Sport.

    Juventus superstar Ronaldo has been tipped to leave Turin, where he arrived in 2018, amid links with former clubs United and Real Madrid, as well as Paris Saint-Germain.

    Ronaldo, who starred for United between 2003 and 2009, would have to take a wage cut in order to make a Manchester reunion a reality.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Diario AS claims Madrid are willing to sell Raphael Varane in order to raise transfer funds amid strong links with Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and PSG star Kylian Mbappe. Varane has been linked with United and Chelsea.

    - Staying at the Santiago Bernabeu, and AS says the future of captain Sergio Ramos looks less likely to be at Madrid. The likes of United and PSG have emerged as possible destinations for the superstar Spain skipper.

    Barcelona are prioritising the signing of Lyon captain Memphis Depay, reports RMC Sport. Juventus have also been linked.

    Rodrigo De Paul is wanted by Leeds United, Juve, Inter and Napoli, according to Calciomercato. Juve have been eyeing the Udinese star, but the Italian giants are also weighing up moves for United's Paul Pogba and Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli.

  • Tottenham need trophies to keep Spurs star Kane, insists Woodgate Tottenham need trophies to keep Spurs star Kane, insists Woodgate

    Tottenham have to start delivering trophies if they are to keep hold of star Harry Kane amid links with Manchester United and Manchester City, according to Jonathan Woodgate.

    Kane, who has said he will assess his future after the delayed Euro 2020 tournament with England, is reportedly ready to quit Tottenham in pursuit of silverware.

    The 27-year-old striker is yet to win a trophy with boyhood club Tottenham, who sacked Jose Mourinho on Monday and are set to face City in Sunday's EFL Cup final.

    Former Tottenham defender Woodgate – now head coach of Championship outfit Bournemouth – was part of the Spurs team that last won silverware via the 2008 EFL Cup.

    Woodgate insisted Tottenham must do more than beat City in the upcoming decider at Wembley to hold on to Kane, who has been linked with both Manchester clubs and Real Madrid.

    "They have to [start winning silverware] with the stadium they have built and with the players they have got," said Woodgate.

    "They have got the best striker in England in Harry Kane so they need to start winning trophies for him.

    "They're a well-run football club but they need to start soon."

    Kane reached 20 Premier League goals for a fifth season with the first of his brace against Everton last week, though he was forced off late in the 2-2 draw on Merseyside with an ankle injury.

    The England international's two goals at Goodison Park lifted him to 164 for his career in the Premier League, good enough for seventh on the competition's all-time list. Thierry Henry (175) and Frank Lampard (177) are next in his sights, while Alan Shearer sits top on 260.

    Kane sat out Spurs' 2-1 home win over Southampton on Wednesday – the first outing with temporary boss Ryan Mason in charge – and it remains unclear if he will recover in time to feature in the City showdown.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.