Carlo Ancelotti thanked Atletico Madrid counterpart Diego Simeone for praising Real Madrid's defensive work after Los Blancos won Sunday's derby.

Goals from Rodrygo and Federico Valverde in the first half sent Madrid on their way to a sixth win from as many league games this season.

Although Mario Hermoso pulled one back, before being sent off late on for two bookings, Madrid were good value for the win at the Civitas Metropolitano.

Simeone commended the work of Ancelotti in his post-match press conference, applauding Madrid's defensive organisation in a "low block" and their effectiveness on the break, likening them to his 2013-14 title-winning Atletico side.

His comment claiming that critics accused that Atletico side of being "defensive" may have been interpreted by some as a backhanded compliment for Madrid, though Ancelotti decided not to take the cynical view.

"I think that in the first half we managed very well defensively at the start, then we were comfortable with the goals and in the second half we got rid of the idea of ​​​​doing damage," Ancelotti said.

"It affected us because then we suffered at the end. Atletico pushed and created problems for us.

"Yes, we have defended with a low block and we are used to it. We removed the danger of [Atletico] breaking with [Antoine] Griezmann or Joao Felix. The low block allowed us to control them well.

"If Simeone says that we have defended well in a low block, I tell him thank you, it is a compliment.

"The ideal football is to score many goals and not concede, perfection does not exist."

Madrid's two goalscorers have emerged as key players this season, taking on greater responsibility after previously being deployed more like rotation options.

Rodrygo was starting in the injured Karim Benzema's place in attack and led the line effectively, earning LaLiga's MVP award for the match, and Ancelotti was eager to commend him and Valverde.

"Both of them are very special players because they are what the modern footballer has to be now, who must play in different positions, must have physique, technique," Ancelotti added.

"Both of them have progressed a lot, and we are delighted because they are doing very well."

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone applauded the work of his opposite number Carlo Ancelotti after losing to the Italian's Real Madrid in Sunday's derby.

Los Blancos claimed a 2-1 win at the Civitas Metropolitano to ensure they go into the international break at the top of the table.

Madrid have won all of their first six LaLiga games in the 2022-23 season and rarely looked especially worried against Atletico, despite the hosts dictating the tempo for much of the second half.

Goals from Rodrygo and Federico Valverde in the first period sent Madrid on their way and, although Mario Hermoso – who was also sent off late on for two bookings – pulled one back, the away side were good value for the win.

Simeone subsequently struggled to hide his admiration for Ancelotti's team, suggesting they were comparable to the Atletico side that won the 2013-14 LaLiga title.

"Madrid defends very well, runs little, closes spaces for you, attacks on the counter-attack," Simeone told Movistar+. "They have a terrific forcefulness.

"The forcefulness is wonderful and seeing a team that attacks from deep and counter-attacks reminds me of our team with [Diego] Costa, and they [critics] told us that we played defensively. But when there is force, football is wonderful.

"[Atletico] made a great effort, we were close to drawing, but it's true that a team that defends organised like them and counter-attacks like that, I like it because you can play deep and play well. I congratulate them, it is a great job by the Madrid coach.

"But I am happy with the work of my team because they stuck it out until the end, the players made a great effort. Mario's expulsion was a pity because there were a few minutes left."

The result left Atletico seventh in the table heading into the international window – they go to Sevilla on October 1 in their next game after the break.

Diego Simeone has overtaken Luis Aragones for the most LaLiga games managed as Atletico Madrid head coach.

Sunday's El Derbi with Real Madrid was Simeone's 408th league match in charge of Atletico since arriving from Racing Club in December 2011.

Simeone won 247 of his previous 407 games prior to the showdown with city rivals Real, with 95 ending as a draw and 64 in defeat.

The Argentinian has won eight trophies during his near 11 years in the Spanish capital, including LaLiga in the 2013-14 and 2020-21 campaigns.

Long-serving midfielder Koke also hit a major milestone on Sunday as he equalled Adelardo Rodriguez for the most appearances of any player in Atletico's history.

The Spain international, who has only ever represented Los Rojiblancos, started against Madrid for his 553rd appearance in all competitions.

Koke was part of all eight of those trophies won under Simeone, while also helping the club reach two Champions League finals.

Antoine Griezmann was the headline inclusion in Atletico Madrid's starting XI for the derby with Real Madrid on Sunday.

Griezmann has scored three goals for Atleti this term, but all of his seven appearances had come from the substitutes bench.

Diego Simeone suggested this has in part been a financial decision, with Atleti set to owe Barcelona a fee for the on-loan forward should he play over half of the available minutes.

Yet he got the nod ahead of Alvaro Morata for the match at the Civitas Metropolitano, starting alongside Joao Felix.

Griezmann's introduction was one of five changes made by Simeone, whose team lost 2-0 to Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Carlo Ancelotti, meanwhile, made two alterations to the Madrid team that started in Wednesday's win over RB Leipzig.

Ferland Mendy and Toni Kroos came in for Nacho Fernandez and Eduardo Camavinga respectively.

With Karim Benzema out injured, Rodrygo – who has scored in his last two LaLiga appearances – was selected to lead Madrid's line along with Federico Valverde and Vinicius Junior.

Ancelotti has lost four of his six meetings as a manager with Simeone in LaLiga (W1 D1), while Atleti have the chance to win consecutive games against Madrid in Spain's top flight for the first time since February 2015

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone says the clash with rivals Real Madrid is "a new movie", insisting that form is irrelevant heading into Sunday's eagerly anticipated derby.

The two LaLiga giants boast contrasting fortunes as they prepare to lock horns in a blockbuster showdown at Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday.

Los Rojiblancos are aiming to bounce back from their midweek Champions League defeat to Bayer Leverkusen, while Carlo Ancelotti's Los Blancos have won each of their eight matches across all competitions this season.

But Simeone, who confirmed goalkeeper Jan Oblak will be fit to start after recovering from a knock, insists that kick-off will represent a fresh start for both teams.

"I always think that in the big games and in the derbies, it's important how you get there," he told reporters at Saturday's press conference. "I would have liked to come with a win and always looking from the positive side.

"But the moment the game starts, it's a new story. Everything is very good until the referee starts; it's a new movie that we don't know the end of, that's why this game is so fun."

Simeone also praised the Spanish and European champions, noting their "habit" of winning.

"The rival has an extraordinary team with young players who are making the transition from those who performed at a high level in these years," he added.

"It's a great team that has a habit of always being close to winning. We have to take the game to where we are most interested."

Koke has urged Atletico Madrid to be "more aggressive" following their Champions League defeat by Bayer Leverkusen at BayArena.

Diego Simeone's side suffered their first loss in this season's competition, after the hosts struck twice in the final six minutes of the Group B clash.

With the contest heading for a stalemate, Robert Andrich fired Leverkusen ahead before Moussa Diaby rounded off a quickfire counter to seal the points.

Atletico have now lost seven of their last eight Champions League away games in Germany, where you must go back to a 1-0 victory over FC Carl Zeiss Jena in the 1961-62 Cup Winners' Cup for their most recent clean sheet.

And the skipper issued a rallying cry to his team-mates, telling Movistar: "I felt like we had more or less control over the match because not a lot was happening. But then in two counter-attacks, they score two goals.

"I think we can do a lot more, we can give more - we've shown that in other matches. We have to be self-critical.

"We knew that they had fast players and that's how they hurt us. We need to be more forceful in both areas, more aggressive - that's one of the keys. They deserved the victory tonight."

Meanwhile, head coach Diego Simeone urged his players to swiftly put the defeat behind with a double-header against Club Brugge to come in Group B.

"It was a game where we couldn't figure it out before 70 or 80 minutes," the Argentine said. Especially in the first half, we had two or three plays to exploit them better, more vision of the game to be able to hurt from the possibilities that were given. We didn't take advantage of them.

"You have to forget this match quickly. It is clear that the group is competitive. Bruges won... we will have two matches in a row with them. They will be hard and difficult. It will be tight, as always in the Champions League."

Alvaro Morata hailed fellow Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann as being "fundamental" to the team's success ahead of their Champions League trip to Bayer Leverkusen.

Atleti made a strong start to their Champions League campaign against Porto last week, clinching a 2-1 victory in dramatic fashion courtesy of Griezmann's 101st-minute header.

That game was just the second in the competition's history to feature three goals after the 90th minute, while Griezmann's winner was the latest Champions League goal on record, scored after 100 minutes and 21 seconds (both stats excluding extra-time).

Griezmann's campaign has been overshadowed by suggestions Atleti are managing his minutes to avoid activating a purchase clause in the two-year loan deal they struck with Barcelona, but he has impressed when called upon.

Despite playing just 165 minutes in all competitions, Griezmann has scored three goals this season, a joint team-high alongside Morata.

Meanwhile, the 2018 World Cup winner has averaged a goal every 55 minutes in all competitions, by far the best ratio in Atleti's squad.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Morata showered his strike partner with praise, saying: "Antoine is a player who does not have to explain what he is. 

"He is fundamental for us not only when he is on the field, but also for the group. 

"He is always smiling, happy, he contributes many positive things to the group. He also transmits many positive things to us whether he plays or not. 

"He is one of the most important footballers we have. He brings us a lot of things and when he goes out on the field, he scores goals and does it well."

Having himself averaged a goal every 148 minutes, Morata has enjoyed something of a revival this campaign following an underwhelming two-year loan spell at Juventus.

The Spain international believes Diego Simeone's faith in him has been key to his good form, adding: "We have just started. I feel very good, I think I'm working well and so is the team. 

"I notice the confidence of the coach and I have always noticed it. I already told him one day that it was a pleasure to work with him, and here we are again with the same common goals. 

"I am so happy to be here. I'm only hopeful for the future and I'm going to work as hard as I can to have the greatest success."

Leverkusen represent a familiar opponent for Atletico – this will be the fourth different Champions League season in which the teams have met after doing so in the last 16 in 2014-15 and 2016-17, as well as in 2019-20's group stage.

But Simeone's men have only won one of their four away games against Leverkusen (D1 L2), and the Argentine is aware of the challenge at hand - despite the Germans' 1-0 defeat at Club Brugge last week.

"I have always had great respect for German teams, they have a strong head, they are tough, they don't go down until the end and they always compete well, as Leverkusen has done every time we played against them," Simeone said.

"I saw the last games, I liked the Brugge team. [Leverkusen] ended up losing a game where they surely deserved more than the result showed. 

"They are an organised team, which will leave the ball to us and will try to counter-attack with speed."

Diego Simeone praised his team's desire to take risks after Atletico Madrid beat Celta Vigo 4-1 at the Civitas Metropolitano.

Goals from Angel Correa, Rodrigo de Paul and Yannick Carrasco were added to by an Unai Nunez own goal after Gabriel Veiga scored a consolation for the visitors.

De Paul scored and recorded an assist in the same LaLiga game for the first time in his career, after 75 league games with Valencia (34) and Atletico (41).

It was the third time Atletico have scored at least four goals at home in LaLiga in 2022, just one fewer than in the previous four years combined in the competition (once in 2018, twice in 2020 and once in 2021).

Their only other home league game in 2022-23 saw them lose to Villarreal, but they fared better on Saturday despite having to soak up some pressure from Celta, especially early in the game.

Speaking to DAZN after the win, Simeone said: "After the defeat against Villarreal we needed to start adding points in LaLiga and, little-by-little, we improved.

"I think we still have situations to grow. Today at the start we had some losses that gave them clear scoring chances, but at least there was an attempt to try to play better and for that you have to take risks many times, but it is also true that the third goal [Carrasco's] was a great goal.

"We scored the four goals very forcefully, with a lot of desire to get into scoring positions."

 

Simeone made six changes from the team that so dramatically beat Porto 2-1 in the Champions League in midweek, with Ivo Grbic, Mario Hermoso, Nahuel Molina, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Thomas Lemar and Correa coming into the side, allowing him to rest some key players.

"We made many changes, we knew that after the Champions League the body is not the same and neither is the head," he said. "They created important scoring situations for us, especially the one that Ivo manages to neutralise hand in hand.

"In the second half we talked and we wanted to improve. The second half was much more complete, except for the end. Until minute 70 we had a good second half."

One of the regulars who missed out was goalkeeper Jan Oblak, replaced by Grbic, but the Atletico head coach was happy with the performance of Croatian stopper, who made two big saves early in the game when the score was still 0-0.

"I understood [Oblak] was not in his best shape to be able to give 100 per cent," Simeone said. "It was a great opportunity for Ivo, and he took advantage of it.

"It makes us very happy for him because he is working. When you work, in the end you get the rewards."

A goal and an assist from Rodrigo de Paul helped Atletico Madrid record their first home win of the season in LaLiga as they beat Celta Vigo 4-1 on Saturday.

Diego Simeone's men were made to work for their victory, with Celta more than a match in most areas for the hosts in the first half, but they could not keep up in the second.

Angel Correa gave Atletico the lead in the opening 10 minutes, before De Paul's deflected effort early in the second half and a superb run and finish from Yannick Carrasco confirmed the win.

Substitute Gabriel Veiga pulled a goal back for the visitors, but an own goal from Unai Nunez ended any hopes for them.

Jan Oblak missed out for Atletico, despite playing in the dramatic midweek Champions League victory against Porto after suffering a knock at Real Sociedad last weekend.

Ivo Grbic deputised and was called into action after just a minute as a long ball was misjudged by Mario Hermoso, allowing Jorgen Strand Larsen in on goal, but the Norwegian could not beat the goalkeeper, who also had to save a Hugo Mallo header from point-blank range from a corner shortly after.

After surviving those scares, Atletico were ahead in the ninth minute after a fine one-touch move down the right as a cross-field ball from Reinildo to Nahuel Molina led to a cushioned pass to De Paul, who immediately slid the ball across to Correa to fire into the roof of the net.

The game calmed down after that, and it took until early in the second half for Atletico to double their lead as a Carrasco cross found substitute Koke, who laid the ball back to De Paul and his shot from the edge of the box deflected in off Nunez, wrong-footing the helpless Agustin Marchesin in the Celta goal.

Carrasco made it three in the 66th minute after picking the ball up on the halfway line and dribbling towards the penalty area, cutting in from the left before moving back onto his left foot and firing past Marchesin at the near post.

Celta got a goal back with 19 minutes remaining as a through ball from Iago Aspas down the right found Veiga, whose shot squirmed under Grbic, but the contest was over when Cunha raced past Nunez, before hitting a cross that deflected in off the visiting defender.

Xavi said Barcelona expect Antoine Griezmann to make his Atletico Madrid stay permanent amid reports the Catalan giants could take legal action if los Colchoneros fail to purchase the forward.

Griezmann is midway through a two-year loan spell at Atleti, but Diego Simeone recently suggested his minutes were being managed in order to avoid activating a purchase clause in their deal with Barcelona.

The France international – who scored a 101st-minute winner in Atleti's Champions League opener against Porto on Wednesday – has made four substitute appearances in LaLiga this season, totalling just 109 minutes on the pitch.

On Friday, reports suggested Barcelona could take legal action over Atleti's reluctance to purchase Griezmann, after he featured more regularly in his first season on loan in the Spanish capital.

Asked about Griezmann's situation ahead of Barcelona's trip to Cadiz, Xavi said: "This is a question for Cholo [Simeone], who has already made it clear that he is a club man.

"It is not an issue for me. Look, we have held meetings with the club, talking about players, but I have not spoken with Antoine's club. I can't do anything else."

Pressed on whether he would welcome Griezmann back to Camp Nou, the Blaugrana boss said: "It's a club issue, it's not up to me, the clubs must talk. 

"In fact, we think that he is already an Atletico Madrid player."

But Simeone was reluctant to comment on the forward's future ahead of Atleti's meeting with Celta Vigo, declaring: "I have been very clear on a day-to-day basis on this matter. 

"It's been four dates and I've always said the same. I have nothing more to add."

Referencing the club hierarchy's apparent desire to hold Griezmann back, he then added: "Where the captain commands, the sailor does not command."

Diego Simeone described Antoine Griezmann as "one of the most important players" in Atletico Madrid's history after his dramatic winner against Porto on Wednesday.

After 100 minutes and 21 seconds, Griezmann nodded home the latest Champions League goal on record (excluding extra-time) to guide Los Colchoneros to a stunning 2-1 victory.

Mario Hermoso had broken the deadlock in the 91st minute before conceding a penalty that was scored by Matheus Uribe, meaning Atleti's win over Porto is just the second Champions League match to ever feature three goals scored after the 90th minute (excluding extra-time).

Remarkably, the previous instance was when these two sides met last December, when Diego Simeone's men ran out 3-1 winners in Portugal.

Griezmann has had to settle for the role of impact substitute this term, with Simeone recently hinting the France forward's minutes were being managed to avoid activating a purchase clause in his loan deal from Barcelona.

The Atleti boss was fulsome in his praise of the France international afterwards and urged him to remain resilient.

"I love Griezmann very much," he said in a press conference. "Apart from the affection towards him, he is one of the most important players in the club's history.

"We will continue to improve. He is giving us a lot and he has to be strong in his head."

Simeone's son, Giovanni, was also in Champions League action on Wednesday, with the 27-year-old scoring his first goal in the competition in Napoli's thumping 4-1 win over Liverpool.

The Atleti boss added: "Gio was looking to play in the Champions League. He goes to a phenomenal club like Napoli and I'm very happy because he deserves it.

"He needs to continue because what you did today, nobody remembers tomorrow."

Atleti are back in action on Saturday when they host Celta Vigo in LaLiga.

Antoine Griezmann declared he will "give everything" in his limited minutes after playing the role of super sub in Atletico Madrid's remarkable 2-1 Champions League win over Porto on Wednesday. 

After 100 minutes and 21 seconds, Griezmann nodded home the latest Champions League goal on record (excluding extra-time) to guide Los Colchoneros to a dramatic victory.

Mario Hermoso had broken the deadlock in the 91st minute before conceding a penalty that was scored by Matheus Uribe, meaning Atleti's win over Porto is just the second Champions League match to ever feature three goals scored after the 90th minute (excluding extra-time).

In a remarkable turn of fate, the previous instance was when these two sides met last December, when Diego Simeone's men ran out 3-1 winners in Portugal.

Griezmann has had to settle for the role of impact substitute this term, with Simeone recently hinting the France forward's minutes were being managed to avoid activating a purchase clause in his loan deal.

But Griezmann insists he is content at Atleti, telling Movistar: "It is what it is, it is not in my hands. I just thank god I'm here. 

"My family is happy, of course I want more, but I'm going to give everything in the minutes I have. 

"I'm very happy here, the only thing I want is to play here and give everything for the club, for Cholo [Simeone] and the fans.

"As I said, on my return I was going to give everything. Scoring the winning goal is always very nice, but we keep the three points and can continue like this.

"We still have a hard time finding a performance, but there are only five games [gone]. We have to improve, we are working on it in training, it is missing in the games. 

"Perhaps we lack confidence in ourselves, to pass forward, look for the strikers and it's only the fifth game, I'm sure we'll go further.

"With the red [for Porto attacker Mehdi Taremi] we got higher, we put more players up, finding passing lines, trying to get inside.

"The penalty, I don't know if it is, but it is what it is. The corner in that last play… here, until the last second anything can happen, and we repeated the Porto goal from last season."

Griezmann's winner ended a run of eight home Champions League games without a win for Atleti – the longest such sequence ever recorded by a Spanish club.

Antoine Griezmann stepped off the bench to guide Atletico Madrid to a remarkable 2-1 win over 10-man Porto in the Champions League, in a match that featured three stoppage-time goals.

Atleti and Porto played out a goalless draw when they met on the opening matchday of last season's Champions League, and a repeat looked likely for the duration of normal time on Wednesday.

But after Mehdi Taremi picked up a second yellow card for simulation, Mario Hermoso fired Atleti ahead before handling in his own area, allowing Mateus Uribe to level the scores with a 96th-minute penalty.

There was to be one final twist in the 11th minute of added time, however, as Griezmann reacted quickest from an Atleti corner to cap a remarkable contest with a dramatic winner.

Even accounting for Chelsea's shoddy start to the Champions League, few would have expected Thomas Tuchel to be out of a job by Wednesday.

The Blues started their European campaign with a lacklustre 1-0 setback at Dinamo Zagreb, a result that follows an underwhelming trend to start the season.

With three wins, two losses and one draw from six games, the Blues sit sixth in the infant Premier League table.

Still, most would have expected Tuchel – who has won the Champions League and Club World Cup with Chelsea – to be afforded more time to bed in the likes of Raheem Sterling, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Koulibaly following a big-spending transfer window under the club's new owners led by Todd Boehly.

But, alas, he has not, and for the first time Chelsea are after a new boss under their new regime. We have taken a look at the most likely candidates to replace Tuchel at Stamford Bridge.

MAURICIO POCHETTINO

The last time Chelsea were looking for a successor for a sacked manager, they turned to a former Paris Saint-Germain boss in Tuchel to replace club legend Frank Lampard. Might history repeat itself here? Certainly Pochettino would be attainable after the Argentine departed the Parc des Princes in July despite winning the Ligue 1 title. Pochettino also brings extensive knowledge of the Premier League having managed Southampton before joining Tottenham in May 2014. Pochettino failed to deliver major silverware but did lead the club to the 2019 Champions League final and secured four straight top-four finishes.

GRAHAM POTTER

A name that has cropped up early in the bookmakers' odds is Brighton and Hove Albion boss Potter, a man who has earned plenty of admirers due to the attractive brand of football employed by his Seagulls side. Having coached Swedish side Ostersund for seven years, Potter joined Swansea City in 2018 and a year later made the move to the Amex Stadium. After finishing 15th and 16th in his first two top-flight seasons, Brighton placed ninth last term and Potter has long been tipped for bigger things, with his case boosted by a fantastic start to the 2022-23 season.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE

Another boss out of work, though reports suggest Zidane remains keen to take on the France job should Didier Deschamps leave after Qatar 2022. One of the greatest players of all time, Zidane has also enjoyed success in the dugout at Real Madrid. Over two spells as coach at the Santiago Bernabeu, Zidane won three Champions League titles (all in a row from 2016 to 2018), two LaLiga medals, and the Club World Cup twice among a plethora of honours. He also showed his ability to manage big egos at the Santiago Bernabeu, a trait that may appeal to Boehly.

BRENDAN RODGERS

A move that would probably represent an outside bet given Leicester City's shoddy start to the season that sees them winless after six matches and rooted to the bottom of the table, but there is context behind that – including the sale of Fofana to Chelsea. Rodgers previously managed Liverpool and went agonisingly close to winning the title in the 2013-14 season – eventually finishing runners-up to Manchester City. After an impressive spell with Celtic, Rodgers returned to English football with Leicester and defeated Chelsea in the 2020-21 FA Cup final. Moreover, Rodgers is a familiar face at Stamford Bridge having managed the club's reserve side from 2006-2008.

DIEGO SIMEONE

Simeone is an undoubted legend at Atletico Madrid, where he has managed to consistently compete against heavyweight rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona in LaLiga for over a decade. A two-time league winner, to go with medals in the Europa League, Copa del Rey and Supercopa a Espana, Simeone knows how to win trophies – even though two runs to the final of the Champions League both ended in defeat to Real Madrid. But having finished third and 15 points off the top last term, and started this season in patchy form (two wins, a draw and a defeat from four games), perhaps Simeone may finally be swayed by the prospect of pastures new.

Joao Felix has started to discover his "best moments" since joining Atletico Madrid ahead of their Champions League clash with Porto, according to Diego Simeone.

The Portugal international became the fifth most expensive signing in history when he joined Atleti from Benfica for €126million in July 2019.

Only Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele have moved for larger fees in world football than Joao Felix, who signed a seven-year deal but has struggled to deliver thus far.

The 22-year-old offered encouraging signs at the start of the 2022-23 season, though, assisting all three goals in the 3-0 opening-day LaLiga win over Getafe.

While Joao Felix is yet to find the net this season, Simeone believes the forward is finding his feet in the Spanish capital as Atleti prepare to host Porto in the Champions League on Wednesday.

"Joao is at the best moments in the years since we have been together, more mature, stronger, more sure of himself, involved in what the team needs," Simeone said.

"He has all the talent, the ability… he just has to tap into it."

Joao Felix will likely line up alongside Alvaro Morata against Porto, but Atleti could be without Jan Oblak, who was forced off with injury in the closing stages against Real Sociedad on Saturday.

"It will be assessed tomorrow morning. From there we will see what can happen," Simeone said of Oblak's fitness. "Ivo Grbic is ready, we believe in him, he is ready to play."

Atletico were narrow 1-0 aggregate losers to Manchester City in the quarter-finals of last year's competition, and Simeone is relishing the challenge of going further this campaign.

"The Champions League is not just another game, it is different," he added. "We will have to do things well from the first game, with our people, in our stadium, to grow in the competition. 

"It's clear that the Champions League is always very difficult, but it's an opportunity. Last season we had a good Champions League, we were close to being among the best, but we competed very well. 

"It's just beginning, we have to demonstrate what we imagine and what we're excited about, hopefully with the team's work we'll have a good Champions League."

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