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May 23, 2014

Tiago says Diego Simeone is a 'god'

Adrian Healey and Stewart Robson debate whether or not Atlético Madrid can stop Cristiano Ronaldo in the Champions League final.

Atletico Madrid midfielder Tiago has described manager Diego Simeone as a "god" to the players, and the main reason why they are in the Champions League final. 

Simeone's rise as a coach has undeniably been the main story in Atletico Madrid's path to Lisbon and, whatever can be said about him being a "god", the Argentine has performed something close to a football economic miracle by winning the Spanish league and taking the club so far.

"I think for us, for all the club, he's like a God," Tiago said. "He arrived to the club and changed everything. What he says comes true.

"If he asks him to jump from a bridge, we jump. I think he knows a lot of football. We as a group follow him, and we're very proud to have him as a coach."

All of the players put up for Atletico's pre-match press conference, meanwhile -- Gabi, Raul Garcia and Tiago -- expressed pride at the club's season, and called it their biggest ever game.

Diego Simeone's brilliant work with Atletico doesn't obscure the fact that La Liga still has plenty of problems.
Tiago says Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone is a 'god.'

"This is the most important game in the history of the club, with all the responsibility that brings," Gabi said.

Atletico may have to play it without two of their key players, as both Arda Turan and Diego Costa are still struggling with injury.

Simeone, however, refused to rule either out. Costa did light sprints on Friday with Marca saying that Costa passed the test.

"We will look at Diego and Arda in training today, and see how they feel. We will talk with them tonight and see what the team needs.

"If Arda or Costa do not play, there are two lads who we know will play. We will do what we worked on during the week."

Atletico meanwhile expressed a sense of calm and focus after winning the league.

"We are very confident because we have a very strong identity. This team has shown, throughout the whole season, that we know what to do in every game. I don't think that will change tomorrow. We'll be the same Atletico, very strong. We have a great team opposing us, but this match will be the same as any other."

Simeone meanwhile expressed no fear about Real Madrid.

"They could play 4-3-3 or 4-4-2, or maybe Isco behind [Gareth] Bale and [Cristiano] Ronaldo. We've worked on what we might face, with different options.

"The players celebrated winning Liga after enormous effort. Now they've worked same as ever, focus on next game. There is no other path for tomorrow.

"We know our strengths and our weaknesses. We're compact, structured, interpret moments of game very well. That has brought us here."

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