Simeone presents united Atleti after Savic-Ortega bust-up reports

By Sports Desk March 15, 2019

Diego Simeone insisted Atletico Madrid remain a united group after reports of infighting emerged in the wake of the Champions League loss to Juventus.

Atletico's dreams of contesting the final at their Wanda Metropolitano home were trampled on Tuesday as they surrendered a two-goal first-leg advantage in a 3-0 defeat in Turin.

Reports in Spanish media have since claimed defender Stefan Savic and fitness coach Oscar Ortega had a falling out in the days leading up to the trip to Italy.

The pair are alleged to have engaged in a confrontation in the changing room following Atletico's win over Leganes last weekend, an incident Simeone did not directly deny.

"Inside the team we're all on the same page and will keep going in the same path," Simeone said.

"I won't make any statement about [the rumours]. This is like a family, everything stays inside.

"If there's something to solve we will solve it on the inside and if there's nothing to solve we won't, but after a defeat it's normal these kind of things show up.

"People try to unsettle the team, but that's normal when you win or lose or play a final.

"After a Europa League final two players were angry with me and nobody found about it and nobody spoke about it because we won."

Simeone admitted the meek loss to Juve has "created lots of criticism" and attributed the response to the increase in expectations under his stewardship.

The Argentine, who in February extended his contract through to 2022, said he feels "questioned" after each match, having attracted scrutiny for the defensive tactics that failed to contain Cristiano Ronaldo.

Atletico CEO Miguel Angel Gil Marin spoke out in support of the head coach, reaffirming his expectation for the new deal to be upheld.

"I fully trust our sports project and Simeone," Gil Marin said. "I offered Diego the contract renewal the week following the 4-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund.

"And it was not to go against the current, nor to thank him for these seven years. It was because I am convinced that we will enjoy the next three years as we have been doing so far.

"I'm sure Diego will complete a decade at Atletico Madrid that will change our history."

The Rojiblancos return to LaLiga action away to Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

Related items

  • Rakitic would 'love' Griezmann at Barcelona Rakitic would 'love' Griezmann at Barcelona

    Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic said he would "love" to play alongside Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann at Camp Nou.

    Griezmann has announced his plan to leave Atletico after five years, with LaLiga champions Barca emerging as the favourites to sign the French World Cup-winning forward.

    The 28-year-old turned down a move to Barca last year but Rakitic would relish the opportunity to team up with Griezmann.

    "He is a top-level player, [among] the best in the world, and of course I would love to have Griezmann on my team," Rakitic told Mundo Deportivo.

    "He is a great professional who has won almost everything and that surely can add to any team."

    Rakitic's future is also uncertain amid links with Serie A side Inter and Premier League giants Manchester United.

    The 31-year-old has won four LaLiga titles – including back-to-back – and the Champions League since arriving from fellow Spanish side Sevilla in 2014.

    But, with Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong set to join in 2019-20, Barca are reportedly open to selling Croatia international Rakitic.

    Rakitic, however, dismissed the speculation by saying: "I cannot explain where this information comes from.

    "I have great respect for all the teams, and Inter is a very important club that I faced this year in the Champions League.

    "Some of my national team team-mates play for them, but I am right now where I want to be. If they are thinking of me, it is because my performances are positive, but I am happy at Barcelona. My family is also very well and I have no other thoughts."

  • Jamaica names 22 of 23 players in Reggae Girlz World Cup squad Jamaica names 22 of 23 players in Reggae Girlz World Cup squad

    Jamaica on Wednesday named a 22-player squad that will campaign in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup that set to kick off on June 7 and conclude on July 7 in France. A 23rd player is to be named by Friday, May 24.

    There are a couple of new faces in the squad including Kayla McCoy, the former Duke University forward and Olufolasade Adamolekun, who played in an exhibition game against Nottingham Forest in late 2018. However, the majority of the players who competed at the CONCACAF Women’s Championships in October 2018, have retained their places.

    The squad was named less than 72 hours after the Reggae Girlz defeated Panama 3-1 before a crowd of about 10,000 at the National Stadium in Kingston on Sunday, May 19. The Reggae Girlz have not lost a match since they qualified for the World Cup in October 2018 after defeating Panama 4-2 on penalties. The teams were deadlocked at 2-2 after regulation and extra time at the Toyota Stadium in Texas.

    Since then, Jamaica defeated Chile 1-0 and 3-2 in Jamaica, drew 1-1 with South Africa and Sunday’s comprehensive victory.

    In light of the progress shown by the team under the coaching staff of Hue Menzies, Lorne Donaldson and Andrew Price, Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts said he was confident in the squad selected.

    “The JFF is extremely proud of the achievement of the Girlz who are a true representation of what makes us Jamaicans. We are also proud of the coaching and other supporting staff who together make a fantastic unit,” Ricketts said after the squad was announced.

    “Based on the makeup, capabilities and ambassadorial spirit of the players and staff, the Federation is absolutely confident that the country will be represented with pride.

    “We must also point out that none of this would have happened without the commitment and sacrifice of those Girlz, who battled for us in the qualifiers but will not be a part of the group for France, we express sincere thanks to those Girlz also.”

    The JFF president also paid tribute to the sponsors who have come on board with the JFF to make the trip to France possible.

    “The JFF expresses thanks to our loyal sponsors, football fans, the government and the media for the outpouring of support,” said Ricketts, who also had a special word for the young female footballers who are inspired by this achievement and the pioneers who started the movement in the country.

    The 22-member squad includes: Allyson Swaby, Ashleigh Shim, Chinyelu Asher, Chantal Hudson-Marks, Deniesha Blackwood, Dominique Bond-Flasza, Khadija Shaw, Lauren Silver, Marlo Sweatman, Nicole McClure, Sashana Campbell, Konya Plummer, Toriana Patterson, Trudi Carter, Yazmeen Jamieson, Chantel Swaby, Kayla McCoy, Chenya Matthews, Tiffany Cameron, Jody Brown, Sydney Schneider and Olufolasade Adamolekun.

  • FIFA abandons plans for 48-team World Cup in Qatar FIFA abandons plans for 48-team World Cup in Qatar

    FIFA has abandoned plans to increase the number of teams at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48.

    World football's governing body said there was insufficient time to consider the proposed expansion of the tournament due to logistical concerns.

    A plan backed by president Gianni Infantino had been put forward that would have seen some of Qatar's Gulf neighbours stage some of the extra matches, having conceded it would be "difficult" to host all such games in Qatar alone.

    However, in a statement released on Wednesday, FIFA confirmed it would need more time to consider all possible requirements of an expanded tournament, with a deadline on the decision set for next month.

    It therefore says the 2022 finals will consist of 32 teams, as originally planned.

    "In line with the conclusions of the feasibility study approved by the FIFA Council at its last meeting, FIFA and Qatar have jointly explored all possibilities to increase the number of participant teams from 32 to 48 teams by involving neighbouring countries at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022," the statement said.

    "Following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process with the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders, it was concluded that under the current circumstances such a proposal could not be made now.

    "Additionally, FIFA and Qatar have once again explored the feasibility of Qatar hosting a 48-team tournament by in particular lowering certain key FIFA requirements.

    "A joint analysis, in this respect, concluded that due to the advanced stage of preparations and the need for a detailed assessment of the potential logistical impact on the host country, more time would be required and a decision could not be taken before the deadline of June.

    "It was therefore decided not to further pursue this option.

    "The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will therefore remain as originally planned with 32 teams and no proposal will be submitted at the next FIFA Congress on 5 June."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.