Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has reiterated his desire for the transfer window to close before the LaLiga season starts.

Spanish clubs have until September 2 to complete their transfer business and there is still the possibility of incoming and outgoing activity at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Atletico, who begin their campaign with a home match against Getafe on Sunday, have been strongly linked with Valencia forward Rodrigo and Angel Correa is among those to have been tipped for the exit.

Simeone said he wants LaLiga to follow the example set by the Premier League in moving the cut-off point for new signings as it would be "mentally healthier" for teams.

"I think all the managers would love it, like it happens in England," he said. 

"If I am not wrong, all of them have the squad built when the competition starts. 

"It would be mentally healthier for everyone being focused on the guys who will play. Now we have to wait until September 2 as there can be updates."

Atletico appeared to be on the brink of signing Rodrigo from LaLiga counterparts Valencia earlier this week, only to pull the plug on a deal reported to be worth €60million.

Valencia general director Mateu Alemany revealed the original offer is "no longer on the table", but Simeone was unwilling to comment on the transfer saga ahead of Sunday's meeting with Getafe.

"You should ask to Andrea Berta, Miguel Angel [Gil Marin] and Enrique [Cerezo]," he said. "I am just focused on Getafe, a team who did a fantastic season last year."

Correa's future is also uncertain on the eve of the new season amid links to AC Milan, though that deal could depend on Rodrigo joining Atletico as a replacement.
 
Asked if Correa is part of his plans, Simeone said: "I would like all the good players to stay. I would also like to sign all the good players and build the strongest team possible to compete as the team has competed so far."

Koke, Saul Niguez, Jan Oblak and Jose Gimenez have been installed as Atletico's four captains for 2019-20 following the departures of Diego Godin, Juanfran and Antoine Griezmann during the close season.

Atletico Madrid broke their transfer record and Real Madrid spent a huge amount to freshen up their squad, but Barcelona will still be the team to beat in LaLiga's title tussle.

Barca have finished top in eight of the last 11 years, including the past two, and they head into the 2019-20 season as favourites to retain their crown.

The reigning champions accrued 11 points more than runners-up Atletico last time out and have strengthened during the close season with the additions of Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong and Junior Firpo.

But with Zinedine Zidane at the Madrid helm and long-term target Eden Hazard in place, not to mention the signings of Luka Jovic, Eder Militao, Ferland Mendy and Rodrygo Goes, there is hope Madrid can bridge the 19-point gap from last season.

Across the city at the Wanda Metropolitano, Atletico replaced Griezmann with €126million sensation Joao Felix and refreshed some key areas in the squad following the exits of Diego Godin, Filipe Luis, Juanfran and several others.

Ahead of the new season commencing on Friday, we used Opta data to look at which records and landmarks LaLiga's three heavyweights are targeting over the next nine months.

The #PrimeraIberdrola gets underway on September 8th!

Who will be the 2019/20 champions? pic.twitter.com/FyzvJxjEps

— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) August 14, 2019

 

Messi has more records in sight at Barcelona

⦁ With Cristiano Ronaldo no longer in the picture, Lionel Messi is closing in on the ex-Madrid forward's hat-tricks record in the Spanish top flight. One more treble will draw him level with Ronaldo on 34; two more will take him outright top.

⦁ Messi, unsurprisingly, leads the way at the top of Barca's all-time scoring charts in LaLiga with 419 goals to his name. Team-mate Luis Suarez has the chance to move up to third in the list, requiring one more goal to overtake Ladislao Kubala (131).

⦁ Barcelona could become the second team to score more than 6,100 goals in LaLiga history. They go into the season on 6,089, 15 fewer than Real Madrid.

⦁ Messi is also high on the list of the Catalan giants' all-time appearance-makers, featuring 684 times in all competitions to leave him second to Xavi Hernandez (767). Gerard Pique has some catching up to do, but he has a landmark in sight, as he is two outings short of 500 in a Barca shirt.

⦁ In the dugout, Ernesto Valverde is on course to become the 10th manager to reach 450 LaLiga games. The Spaniard, whose future was called into question during the close season, is 26 matches short of that impressive figure.

 

Simeone closing in on milestone Atletico victory

⦁ Retaining the services of boss Diego Simeone was key for Atletico during the close season. The Argentine coach remains and he could become the second manager to reach 200 LaLiga wins with a single team after Miguel Munoz for Real Madrid (257). He heads into the weekend on 180.

⦁ Since Radamel Falcao got the Simeone era up and running with goal number one in 2012, Atletico have gone on to add another 484 in LaLiga, meaning the 500 landmark is within touching distance.

⦁ Atletico have become more synonymous with the defensive side of the game under Simeone and boast one of the world's best goalkeepers in Jan Oblak. The Slovenia international is on 88 LaLiga clean sheets and is aiming to become the third keeper to reach triple figures in the 21st century after Victor Valdes (171) and Iker Casillas (160).

⦁ In new signing Joao Felix, Atletico boast one of the hottest properties in world football. Aged 19, he could become one of the youngest players to score for the club - a record held by Ignacio Camacho (17 years and 364 days when he scored against Recreativo Huelva in 2008).

⦁ Joao Felix will hope to have a long and prosperous career at the Wanda Metropolitano, much in the way team-mate Koke has. The academy product has made 285 league appearances for Atletico and will expected to become only the sixth player to reach 300 this term.

 

 Numancia
 Chivas
 Real Madrid
 MLS All-Stars
 @AtletideSanLuis
 Juventus

 100% win rate in pre-season! #AúpaAtleti #AtletiSummerTour pic.twitter.com/k007cDdLQk

— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) August 10, 2019

 

Familiar faces out to make history for Madrid

⦁ They may have fallen well off the pace last season, but no team has won more matches in LaLiga than Real Madrid's 1690 victories, 55 more than next best Barca. They could therefore become the first team to reach 1,700 victories in the competition.

⦁ Karim Benzema hit a good patch of form towards the end of last season to go sixth on the club's list of all-time leading scorers in all competitions with 222 goals. That leaves him just 20 short of fifth-place Ferenc Puskas, but still a whopping 228 adrift of leading marksman Ronaldo.

⦁ The Frenchman will hope to retain his place up top this term, especially with Hazard now providing the ammunition from out wide. The Belgian is looking to become the eighth current player to reach 100 assists in the top five European leagues. He goes into the season on 89 from his time with Lille and Chelsea.

⦁ Zidane was brought back to Madrid in March, 10 months after stepping down, and he is closing in on 200 games for Los Blancos. The 47-year-old has taken charge of 160 matches in all competitions, leaving him behind five others, including Jose Mourinho (178).

⦁ Players and managers come and go but one thing remains constant - Sergio Ramos marshalling the Madrid defence. The Spanish skipper has made 419 LaLiga appearances in the famous white strip, although he is only seventh on the list of record appearances makers, with Paco Gento (427) the next player in his sights.

Zinedine Zidane must have anticipated problems when he returned as Real Madrid coach in March, but whether he predicted the shambles that has since come to envelop the club is unclear.

Poor pre-season form, rumours of a power struggle with the president emanating from a farcical handling of Gareth Bale's future, uncertainty over new signings – these are all issues on Zidane's plate heading into the 2019-20 LaLiga season.

Madrid finished a whopping 19 points adrift of Barca last season, and the champions certainly don't appear any weaker. Even Atletico Madrid, amid a major rebuild, look better prepared than their neighbours.

Although few will be surprised if Los Blancos fall apart again as they did last term, this season there is at least a little uncertainty surrounding their rivals – could Antoine Griezmann be a disruptive influence at Barca? Will Atletico cope with so much upheaval?

 

Power struggle engulfing a disorganised Real Madrid

Madrid and their fans were supposed to be reinvigorated during the close season, with the transfer business expected to see the squad boosted, deadwood offloaded and supporters excited.

While Eden Hazard will surely thrill, little certainty can be garnered from the rest of their signings. Ferland Mendy has struggled with injury, Eder Militao and Rodrygo are inexperienced and Luka Jovic is reported to have already left Zidane underwhelmed, sparking rumours of a loan exit.

Furthermore, Madrid's outgoings raise questions about their vision. Sergio Reguilon, Dani Ceballos, Jesus Vallejo, Borja Mayoral, Theo Hernandez, Marcos Llorente and Raul de Tomas – all young, all Spanish and all gone.

James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale remain, however, with the latter reportedly at the centre of a power struggle. Zidane wants him out, president Perez doesn't.

How much of an impact the growing tension has on the season remains to be seen, but it cannot help ease the pressure Zidane is under following disappointing pre-season results and winning just 45 per cent of his matches in charge last term.

Compared to Santiago Solari's win percentage of 69, it's fair to say Zidane hasn't been a positive force of change yet. He might not be given the time to turn things around.

 

Simeone's Atletico 2.0

Rarely under Diego Simeone have Atletico been a thrill to watch in the conventional sense, mostly shirking all-out attacking tendencies and relying on a stable, full-blooded defence.

Don't expect that to change despite the most significant overhaul in Simeone's time at the helm, with Griezmann, Diego Godin, Juanfran, Filipe Luis, Lucas Hernandez and Rodri all moving on.

Simeone accepts things will be slightly different given the sheer scale of the changes, but he is not sparing newcomers of his exhaustive methods.

"We must be realistic," he told La Nacion recently. "It will be a moment of renewal. We are going to have to reinvent ourselves, so we have to think only of the day-to-day.

"Perhaps over time that [attitude] has faded, so now we will have to redouble our philosophy."

Atletico's dealings have generally been quite shrewd, if we ignore the somewhat risky signing of the inexperienced – albeit hugely talented – Joao Felix for €126m.

Kieran Trippier and Renan Lodi are very much in the mould of the full-backs they've replaced; Marcos Llorente and Hector Herrera offer a typical Simeone blend of tenacity and technique; Felipe is experienced, and Mario Hermoso was one of LaLiga's best centre-backs last term.

Early indications are encouraging, particularly after that 7-3 pre-season drubbing of Madrid.

 

'La Decision', the sequel

If you didn't get enough of the Antoine Griezmann soap opera last year, by now you're surely sick of the sight of him.

The contrived and ill-conceived 'La Decision' video documenting his agonising over a choice between Atletico or Barca just before the World Cup did little to endear him to either set of supporters, even though he opted to remain in Madrid for another season.

After finally getting the move he reportedly desired in 2018, the pressure couldn't be greater for Griezmann. By all accounts, he had an underwhelming final campaign at the Wanda Metropolitano, with 15 goals in 37 LaLiga games.

A few poor games and Barca supporters – who were widely reticent to the idea of Griezmann signing after last year's debacle – will be straight on his back.

A cursory glance at their treatment of Philippe Coutinho shows what could be in store for him.

But either way, Griezmann does add further depth to an already star-studded line-up of attackers and such a move may provide the jolt he needs to again elevate himself to the level of the world's best.

Despite his relative lack of experience compared to Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong looks more of a ready-made success and will surely take LaLiga by storm following his move from Ajax.

Jose Mourinho believes Joao Felix's huge price tag means he must produce the goods at Atletico Madrid despite his tender years.

The 19-year-old forward joined Diego Simeone's Atletico from Benfica in a €126million move last month and has turned in some dazzling pre-season displays.

As such, his famed Portuguese compatriot Mourinho believes there will be a demand for instant results.

"He has a challenge due to the extent of his talent and because of the investment the club have made on him," Mourinho told the Portuguese Football Federation's (FPF) television channel, Canal 11.

"I believe that he can't escape this responsibility. It doesn't matter if he's 18, 20 or 25.

"What matters is his talent and the responsibility he has."

That responsibility extends to spearheading a challenge for the top honours in Spain and Europe, according to Mourinho.

Despite losing Lucas Hernandez, Rodri, Diego Godin and Antoine Griezmann - the France star's long-anticipated move to Barcelona eventually coming to fruition – Atletico have reinforced impressively.

Kieran Trippier, Marcos Llorente and Hector Herrera are among those to have bolstered Simeone's squad and Mourinho feels they must now look to match Spain's heavyweight duo.

"Atletico Madrid's level of investment leaves them with responsibility to fight for the Champions League and LaLiga," he said.

"It's clear that Barcelona and Real Madrid have to be there because of their power, financial capability, culture and quality.

"Atletico in recent years have been without this responsibility, but the level of investment they've made is incredible.

"It's time to say, 'We're here, we're big, we want to be big and we are here to win'." 

Atletico begin their LaLiga campaign at home to Getafe on Sunday.

Diego Simeone praised Joao Felix after the teenager's impressive start at Atletico Madrid continued against Juventus on Saturday.

Joao Felix scored one and set up the other as Atletico completed a perfect pre-season with a 2-1 International Champions Cup victory over Juve in Stockholm.

The 19-year-old arrived at the LaLiga giants from Benfica for a reported €126million in July and has scored three goals and provided four assists in five pre-season games.

Simeone has been impressed with what he has seen from Joao Felix, who netted 20 times in 42 games in all competitions for Benfica last season.

"Joao has many capabilities. He is adapting very quickly to what the team needs," the Atletico coach told a news conference.

"He has a vision that allows him to adapt to many positions and is in a process of adaptation and the best thing he has is that, I said from the first day, his desire to learn.

"He wants to learn and with that the adaptation process will be shorter. Talent is innate, but the desire to learn is the shortest path that a player has to perform."

Atletico have gone through a rebuild in the close season, the likes of Joao Felix, Marcos Llorente and Kieran Trippier joining, while Antoine Griezmann, Rodri, Lucas Hernandez, Diego Godin, Juanfran and Filipe Luis are among those to have left.

Argentina forward Angel Correa is also linked with a move to AC Milan, but Simeone expects the 24-year-old to stay at Atletico.

"We are open to everything that can happen, transfer wise. There is nothing that can surprise us because obviously there is always something happening until the end so we have to be prepared for that," he said.

"Angel Correa is training in an extraordinary way since he arrived back and there's not any situation that leads me to think about him leaving the team."

Joao Felix showed why Atletico Madrid were happy to pay €126million to sign him with a hand in both goals as the Rojiblancos beat Juventus 2-1 in the International Champions Cup.

In a repeat of last season's thrilling Champions League round-of-16 tie that Juventus won 3-2 on aggregate, Atletico took a measure of revenge in an entertaining encounter at the Friends Arena in Stockholm, where Thomas Lemar turned Joao Felix's volley into the net to give Diego Simeone's men the lead.

The pair combined again for Atleti's second, which was scored by teenage sensation Joao Felix, whose performance full of energy and flair will have delighted his coach.

The result rounded off a satisfying pre-season for Atletico, who beat rivals Real Madrid 7-3 earlier in the ICC, while Juve coach Maurizio Sarri gave Paulo Dybala a run out after his mooted move away from the club failed to transpire.

Giorgio Chiellini's close-range volley was turned over the bar by Jan Oblak, who got down well to make a one-handed save, and Cristiano Ronaldo fired over the crossbar from the edge of the box as Juventus enjoyed a positive start.

But Atletico punished the Bianconeri's wastefulness after 23 minutes when Joao Felix met Kieran Trippier's cross with a side-footed volley that deflected off Lemar's thigh on its way past Wojciech Szczesny and into the net.

The lead lasted just six minutes as Khedira capitalised on some hesitant Atletico defending and sent a low drive into the bottom corner of Oblak's net, with Douglas Costa's step-over helping to distract the goalkeeper.

Lemar returned the favour to Joao Felix just after the half hour, floating a weighted pass into the box where the teenage forward slid in ahead of Matthijs de Ligt to score with a half-volley from 12 yards.

After Costa hit the outside of the post with a low drive early in the second half, Adrien Rabiot went even closer, crashing a thunderous effort against the upright from 20 yards.

Mario Mandzukic played in Dybala for a chance in the box 13 minutes from time but his deflected shot was saved at full stretch by Oblak, meaning Atletico entered the new season on a winning note.

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone bears no ill feeling towards Antoine Griezmann following his move to Barcelona, and is adamant it was better to leave when he did instead of staying and potentially ruining their relationship.

Simeone is overseeing a major rebuild at Atletico this close season, with Griezmann one of several key players to leave the club.

Filipe Luis, Diego Godin, Lucas Hernandez, Rodri and Juanfran have also left, with Atletico bringing in Felipe, Mario Hermoso, Hector Herrera, Renan Lodi, Marcos Llorente and Kieran Trippier as replacements, while Joao Felix is tasked with filling Griezmann's boots.

Godin, Filipe Luis, Juanfran and Fernando Torres have all received great send-offs from Atletico supporters in the last 14 months, but Griezmann was widely jeered after confirming his intention to leave in May.

Simeone puts the indifference partly down to longevity at the club, while accepting Griezmann probably chose a good time to seek a new challenge.

"Because it wasn't the same time [at the club]," he told La Nacion when asked why Griezmann did not get the same send-off as Godin and Torres.

"His time was significant from a sporting perspective. The others, in another way, have lit up the hearts of Atletico fans.

"The numbers of Antoine are tremendous. In five years, he was among the five top scorers in the history of the club.

"When he came to talk to me about his departure, I already sensed it. I think he looked for the most appropriate moment in his search to keep improving.

"He is young, he has talent, he is an extraordinary boy whom I love very much, and the best way to maintain this affection is from respect.

"I understand that others also have needs. As long as others have needs that do not alter mine, it is great. If the needs of he who remains alter my needs, we may not end up as friends anymore."

Atletico Madrid came from behind to claim a 2-1 friendly win over their franchise club Atletico San Luis in Mexico.

Diego Costa and Joao Felix were given the chance to build upon their burgeoning attacking partnership as Diego Simeone selected a strong starting XI.

Atleti fell behind in the 11th minute as Nicolas Ibanez converted a rebound when Luis Reyes' shot came back off the post - Jan Oblak having initially failed to deal with an overhit backpass from Felipe.

Costa controlled Joao Felix's sumptuous lofted pass to crash a volley against the crossbar but the hosts remained ahead until Simeone sent on a number of his youngsters.

Two of them combined to equalise in the 72nd minute, 18-year-old forward Sergio Camello powering home Carlos Isaac's cross.

The winner arrived six minutes from time, with Juan Portales putting through his own goal after Manu Sanchez and Rodrigo Riquelme unpicked San Luis.

Simeone's men face Juventus next Saturday in the International Champions Cup before hosting Getafe the following weekend in their LaLiga opener.

Diego Simeone insists his expensively assembled squad must perform the pitch to earn comparisons with former Atletico Madrid sides.

Atletico have undergone a significant transformation since finishing 11 points behind LaLiga champions Barcelona last season.

Antoine Griezmann, Diego Godin, Filipe Luis, Lucas Hernandez and midfielder Rodri, Manchester City's new record signing, have all left the Wanda Metropolitano.

Among the replacements are Marcos Llorente, Kieran Trippier, Mario Hermoso and Joao Felix, who became the fourth most expensive signing in history when he arrived from Benfica for €126million.

The level of investment, which has brought eight new additions in total, has prompted conjecture about whether the squad could be the strongest assembled under Simeone.

"It's not fair to talk about a team that is yet to start competing," Simeone said.

"We think about now, which is to improve in training, in matches, for each player to fulfil his function.

"When the season ends we will be able to say if this is the best squad or not. You don't win with names. You win with performance and with players who interpret what the team needs."

Another close-season signing, Hector Herrera, is back in his homeland of Mexico for Saturday's friendly against Atletico San Luis.

The former Porto midfielder is "very excited" by the occasion but the thought of a league debut against Getafe on August 18 is providing the real motivation.

"I never imagined playing in LaLiga," Herrera said.

"It was always a dream to be able to reach LaLiga, which is the best league in the world. You have to look for big challenges and [in LaLiga] you are competing with the best."

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone does not think Joao Felix is a similar player to Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Nineteen-year-old Joao Felix became the second most expensive teenager in world football when he joined Atletico from Benfica for €126million last month, a fee only eclipsed by those paid for Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Philippe Coutinho by Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona respectively.

The forward has enjoyed an encouraging pre-season under Simeone and got a goal and an assist in Thursday's 3-0 friendly win over an MLS All-Stars side in Orlando.

The player admitted this week he would like to emulate the success of compatriot Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d'Or winner and a league champion in England, Spain and Italy, but Simeone thinks there is little point comparing the two.

"No, I don't think Joao Felix is like Cristiano," he said.

"The reality is that he has a good game to observe. I've enjoyed watching him since he arrived. He has vision and good control going forward, which speaks well for his age and how he plays and how he reads the game.

"We are going to add situations to help him grow and become a better and stronger player in the way everyone thinks he will.

"I'm really pleased with all the new players. Felipe is growing, [Mario] Hermoso the same. To play all the new players together helps us to be able to get ready for what is coming, which is going to be tough.

"The team is working well. We've been together every day for more than 20 days. The new guys are making a big effort to catch on to what we want."

Joao Felix himself was happy with his performance as a substitute as he scored his second goal for the club following a strike in the 7-3 International Champions Cup win over Real Madrid.

"I'm happy to score. I got two in my last two games and it makes me very pleased," he said.

"I play as I always play. Adapting depends on the players. It's just the start, although we're doing well. We'll work every day to have a good season."

On his blossoming partnership with Diego Costa, having set up the striker for Atleti's third goal, he added: "We understand each other well. We speak the same language and I hope to give him more assists."

Joao Felix wants to follow in Cristiano Ronaldo's footsteps by winning the Ballon d'Or.

The 19-year-old became Atletico Madrid's record signing after they paid €126million to sign him from Benfica earlier this month.

Joao Felix made his name in the Primeira Liga and Europa League last term, then teamed up with Ronaldo as Portugal triumphed in the Nations League.

The attacker will be tasked with replacing Antoine Griezmann at Atletico, the France forward having finally completed a long-mooted switch to Barcelona.

And Joao Felix is hoping to emulate Ronaldo, who collected four Champions League titles after joining Real Madrid from Manchester United in 2009 and has five Ballons d'Or to his name.

"Cristiano Ronaldo has won five Ballon d'Or trophies and this is the dream of every player," Joao Felix told ESPN.

"Obviously, I would like to be like Cristiano."

Paulo Futre, Simao and Tiago are among the Portuguese players to have starred at Atletico.

But Joao Felix said it was the club's record of developing strikers – including Radamel Falcao, Diego Forlan, Fernando Torres and Griezmann – that persuaded him to move to the Wanda Metropolitano.

"I saw the strikers that Atletico had and they were great players, great strikers," he said.

"I want to be one more and this is why I choose to come here."

Joao Felix says one conversation with Diego Simeone was enough to convince him to sign for Atletico Madrid.

The 19-year-old joined the LaLiga side in a blockbuster €126million deal earlier this month from Benfica and has made an immediate impression.

He scored his first goal for the club in their thrilling 7-3 International Champions Cup win over neighbours Real Madrid on Saturday and added two assists in a dazzling display.

Some of Europe's heavyweights were linked with the Portugal international but Joao Felix says the lure of playing for Simeone was enough to convince him to move to the Wanda Metropolitano.

When asked why he joined Atletico, he told AS: "Because it's a big club and because they work really well to develop players.

"It was also because of Simeone, who works well with strikers and that helped me with the decision."

Asked if he spoke to Simeone before he signed, Joao Felix added: "Just once and that was enough. He told me that I can learn a lot, I can grow and other things that will stay between us."

Real Madrid could scarcely handle Joao Felix during the friendly thumping in New Jersey, a game the teenager has described as a "dream".

He added: "It was a dream, really good, and I was really happy. It was my first derby and to do what I did isn't easy.

"I am happy with that and it ended better than I hoped. I never imagined it like that but I'm happy that we won. But it was a pre-season game and it serves as work for the team."

Diego Forlan believes that Atletico Madrid are on the right path to finally winning the Champions League one day and thinks that they can now be considered one of Europe's most feared clubs.

The Uruguayan, 40, played for the Rojiblancos for four years, and has been impressed with the work that Diego Simeone has carried out since taking the helm in 2011.

Atletico have reached two Champions League finals under Simeone only to lose both games to cross-city rivals Real Madrid, in extra time in 2014 and on penalties two years later.

"They came very close twice," Forlan told Marca.

"Once leading until the 93rd minute and losing the other on penalties.

"They're on the right track but everyone prepares themselves to win the Champions League.

"Nobody wants to cross Atletico because of what they've achieved. They've earned respect."

Atleti have undergone a squad overhaul in the off-season, bringing in the likes of Kieran Trippier, Marcos Alonso and record signing Joao Felix.

And it is the potential of the 19-year-old that has caught Forlan's eye.

"I saw him at Benfica and he did spectacular things," Forlan said of Joao Felix.

"He's a different player and he's lucky to now be part of a hard-working and humble team."

Diego Simeone insisted Friday's stunning pre-season rout is not the reality of potential between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.

Atletico ran riot at the International Champions Cup after humiliating LaLiga rivals Madrid 7-3 in New Jersey on Friday.

Diego Costa scored a first-half hat-trick and four goals in total for Atletico, who led 5-0 at half-time, while Joao Felix netted his first goal since arriving from Benfica.

It was a stunning performance at MetLife Stadium but Atletico head coach Simeone played down the result.

"I do not rush to anything," Simeone told reporters. "I live the reality of the moment. It was a good game. I see them with enthusiasm, optimism, enthusiasm. Now wait for the next game to rotate the players and get to LaLiga."

"I do not consider this match to be the reality of potential between each other," added Simeone, whose Atletico finished second behind Barcelona in LaLiga last season, ahead of Madrid.

Atletico stormed out of the blocks after Costa opened the scoring inside 43 seconds before Joao Felix doubled the lead seven minutes later.

Angel Correa and another Costa goal made it 4-0 by the 28th minute, with the latter completing his hat-trick via the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time.

Costa netted his fourth six minutes into the second half before he was sent off, along with Madrid's Dani Carvajal, as tempers boiled over.

"We prepared the game well. Having seen Madrid, we looked for where we could harm them," Simeone said. "We tried to find good places at the exit of the ball ... and we were very precise, that in football it is important.

"There is always something that can be improved. Beyond the scoreboard Madrid went to our end with great force. And they had chances. That has to be adjusted and try to add talent and effort. Today all the important teams have three or four talented players in the group."

Portuguese sensation Joao Felix showed there is life after Antoine Griezmann with a dazzling display, which included a goal and two assists for Atletico.

On his big-money signing, Simeone added: "I see him better playing in front, with people ahead, so that with his vision of the game he can hurt.

"When you have Joao's talent and enthusiasm for improvement you can play anywhere."

Diego Simeone confirmed Joao Felix's injury is not serious and said he expects a great season from Diego Costa.

Joao Felix was withdrawn after less than half an hour of his Atletico debut against Numancia last weekend after hurting his hip.

The Portugal international then played no part in Atletico's International Champions Cup game against Guadalajara.

But Simeone indicated Joao Felix, Antoine Griezmann's replacement, could recover in time to face Real Madrid on Friday.

"He's a little hurt. It's an annoying blow, but we need it to be fine," Simeone told reporters of Joao Felix's fitness.

"He trained in the morning without problems. I imagine tomorrow he will play for a while or start from the beginning."

Costa struggled for form last season with the Brazil-born Spain international only scoring two LaLiga goals.

Atletico have added Ivan Saponjic – who like Joao Felix has joined from Benfica – to boost their forward options but Simeone still has faith in Costa.

"Diego heard me speak in times of difficulty," Simeone said of the striker. "I don't change a comma in everything I think. I am convinced that it will be a great season for him and his team-mates."

The MetLife Stadium in New Jersey will host Friday's historic clash, with Saul Niguez excited to take on Madrid.

"Although it is a friendly match, it is a derby. It is always special, it is the first that is played outside Europe, it makes us very excited to compete tomorrow," he told a news conference. 

"The really important thing is to prepare for the first official match, but we are going to play as if it were an official match, as if it were a final, because every time you wear the shirt of Atletico Madrid it is to give everything."

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