Madrid, Aug 22 (IANS) Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone insists that despite its winning success last season, it’s impossible for the team to compete against economic powerhouses FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Last season saw Simeone lead Atletico to the BBVA Primera Liga title and to the final of the Champions League, where they were seconds away from a historic win over Real Madrid, reports Xinhua.
Tuesday saw Atletico draw 1-1 at the Santiano Bernabeu Stadium in the first leg of the Spanish Supercup against Real, a result which makes them favourites to lift the first domestic trophy this season, however, speaking ahead of Friday’s return leg, Simeone repeated his mantra that the ‘big two’ were favourites to sweep the board this time around, despite matching the duo in the transfer market over the summer.
“We are putting the finishing touches to the squad and the team has changed, especially in attack,” he said Thursday.
“I see this season as starting from scratch because the team is different. (Mario) Mandzukic, (Raul) Jimenez and (Antoine) Griezmann are different players than (the departed) (Diego) Costa, (David) Villa and Adrian (Lopez). We have held on to the solid base on which the team is built, but we are looking for the style that best fits what we have,” he said, dismissing his club’s title hopes.
“Atletico are the champions, but the players are not the same. We are in a different league to Barcelona and Madrid because the money spent on new players is a direct result of other players being sold,” he said, adding that “nothing,” had changed in regard to Real Madrid and Barca.
“We do not have a financial structure that lets us spend 80 million on one player, we’ve spent almost 100 million on everybody,” he explained, before comparing Atletico to their main rivals.
“(Leo) Messi, Neymar and (Luis) Suarez are three of the five best players in the world, and Real Madrid have brought in James (Rodriguez) and Toni Kroos, while (Gareth) Bale is much stronger now and they have improved over the last year.”
“I understand our fans want to repeat the success of last season but they should remember that last year was the first time we’d won the league for 18 years and its not something we can win every year,” he concluded.