HomeChampions LeagueAtletico Madrid's Simeone still hungry for Champions League glory

Atletico Madrid’s Simeone still hungry for Champions League glory

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – Champions League – Group B – Atletico Madrid v FC Porto – Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain – September 7, 2022 Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone reacts REUTERS/Juan Medina

MADRID (Reuters) – Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone said he was as motivated as ever to achieve Champions League success more than a decade into his tenure at the club.

Simeone has taken his side to two Champions League finals – losing in 2014 and 2016 to Real Madrid – but insisted he still had the desire to see them reach the top of the European game. 

“I’m still motivated by the same emotions as when I arrived at the club (in 2011) and we were 15 points off the third and final Champions League spot,” he said.

“I’m the first person who demands the most from me and I’m also my biggest critic. We’ve grown a lot and with the players the club have brought in, and the options this gives you, being in the shake up for things brings out the best in yourself.”

Leverkusen lost 1-0 at Club Brugge in their opening Champions League group game and languish second-bottom of the Bundesliga after six games, however Simeone stressed that he was taking nothing for granted against Gerardo Seoane’s side.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for German clubs. They’re mentally very strong, they never let their guard down and always compete,” said Simeone.

“I liked how they played against Brugge. They were quick and played good football. They might have lost but they deserved something. We’re expecting an organised side who will look to play on the counter.”

Atleti will be without midfielder Thomas Lemar, who suffered a muscle injury on Monday, for the trip to Germany as well as defenders Stefan Savic and Jose Maria Gimenez.

However, goalkeeper Jan Oblak, who missed Saturday’s 4-1 home win over Celta Vigo, was named in the travelling party.

(Reporting by Joseph Walker; Editing by Ken Ferris)