Simeone has sympathy for Barca boss Koeman: I respect him very much

By Sports Desk October 01, 2021

Diego Simeone is full of respect for Ronald Koeman and sympathises with his opposite number's current situation as Atletico Madrid prepare to host Barcelona in LaLiga.

Atletico lost their previous league match against Deportivo Alaves and are aiming to avoid suffering consecutive defeats in the competition for the first time since 2019.

Simeone's side sit in fourth and have won just one of their last 11 top-flight home games against Barca, who are unbeaten in their first LaLiga six matches this term, though there is mounting pressure on head coach Ronald Koeman.

Reports suggest the under-fire Koeman is soon to be relieved of his duties at Camp Nou, but Simeone spoke highly of the Dutchman ahead of Saturday's meeting in the Spanish capital.

"He will surely be in an uncomfortable situation and, on our side, I imagine that all of his colleagues respect him as a coach and he will surely always do well," Simeone told reporters at Friday's pre-match news conference.

"I am not the one to value anything. I respect Koeman very much, he has shown personality and I wish him the best. As for the transition, we are very busy with ourselves and we do not worry about what happens on another team.

"We think about the value of the rival players, Barcelona has great footballers, a very good coach with a lot of personality and we focus on doing well ourselves, improving ourselves."

 

The fixture may well signify the end for Koeman, who will be absent from the touchline after his dismissal against Cadiz, but it also sees Luis Suarez go up against his former club once again.

The forward has scored against 30 of the 31 opponents he has faced in LaLiga, with Barca the only side Suarez has failed to find the net against so far.

However, Simeone insisted there was no change in motivation for Suarez, while he also praised the versatility of Antoine Griezmann following his return to the club from Barcelona.

"I see him [Suarez] as always, since he arrived here, with the same hunger, enthusiasm and we try to empower him that the best thing he has is the goal," Simeone said.

"We always put him [Griezmann] where he normally plays. Footballers always have a privileged place, I like to play here.

"The important thing is where the team needs it and Antoine I have no doubt that where we put him, the other day as a midfielder, I am sure he can help us wherever we put him."

Related items

  • Rays' Franco eyeing World Series title after record-setting contract extension Rays' Franco eyeing World Series title after record-setting contract extension

    Wander Franco wants to bring a World Series title to the Tampa Bay Rays following his record-setting contract extension with the MLB franchise.

    Franco finalised a mouth-watering 11-year, $182million contract in Tampa, where the deal includes a club option for the 2033 season, on Saturday.

    It is the largest financial commitment to a player in the Rays' 24-year history, while it is also the biggest deal in MLB history for a player with less than a year of major league service time.

    Franco, who made his debut in June, enjoyed a remarkable season after recording a 43-game on-base streak to tie Cincinnati's Frank Robinson (1956) for the longest in MLB history among player aged under 21.

    The 20-year-old shortstop helped the Rays win the American League (AL) East – Tampa Bay clinching back-to-back titles for the first time in franchise history with a record 100 victories before falling to the Boston Red Sox in the AL Division Series (ALDS).

    "I'm really happy for this opportunity, and the one thing I want to do is bring a championship to the organisation," Franco said during Monday's news conference as the Rays target a maiden World Series championship.

    "With this, I can help my family and have nothing in my mind when I'm playing on the field … and be happy with this opportunity."

    Franco also finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting after slashing .288/.347/.463 with 18 doubles, five triples and seven home runs in 2021.

    "The Rays have given me the support that I need, the development, the people that they have here," Franco said. "I wish to stay here for my whole career."

    Rays president of baseball operations Erik Neander added: "The chance for a homegrown star to be with the club for the foreseeable future, that in and of itself is a really big deal.

    "Our on-field goal is to win a World Series, and as we've said many times over now, our desired approach to making that happen is to be as competitive as possible in as many years as possible.

    "This commitment certainly increases our confidence that we're going to continue to be competitive and eventually be that last team standing."

  • Seahawks sink to third straight loss as Washington's Heinicke makes NFL history Seahawks sink to third straight loss as Washington's Heinicke makes NFL history

    The Seattle Seahawks and their 2021 NFL season is fast becoming a nightmare after going down 17-15 to the Washington Football Team.

    Taylor Heinicke lifted Washington past Russell Wilson and the slumping Seahawks, who suffered a third consecutive defeat to fall to 3-8 for the season, in an historic performance.

    Wilson had not accounted for a single touchdown in two games since returning from a finger injury – only the second time in the star quarterback's career he had zero total TDs in at least back-to-back games after going three straight in October 2016.

    While Wilson threw a pair of touchdowns on 20-of-31 passing for 247 yards and no interceptions, it was not enough against Heinicke and Washington on the road.

    Heinicke was 27-of-35 passing for 223 yards, a touchdown and interception for streaking Washington (5-6), who celebrated a third successive win.

    The 28-year-old found J.D. McKissic with a 10-yard TD pass in the second period before the latter – who was carted off late in the fourth quarter due to a head injury – scored on a 10-yard run to put the hosts ahead 17-9.

    In his last three starts, Heinicke has beaten Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstar Tom Brady, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton and Wilson. According to Stats Perform, he is the first undrafted quarterback in NFL history to beat three different opposing starting QBs who had previously started a Super Bowl in three consecutive starts.

  • Ballon d'Or: Pedri credits Messi for improvement after winning Kopa Trophy Ballon d'Or: Pedri credits Messi for improvement after winning Kopa Trophy

    Pedri credited Ballon d'Or winner and superstar Lionel Messi for helping him become a better player after claiming the Kopa Trophy.

    Barcelona and Spain midfielder Pedri received the Kopa Trophy on Monday following a superb year for club and country, while Messi scooped a record-extending seventh Ballon d'Or.

    The Kopa Trophy is presented to the best player under the age of 21, with Barca sensation Pedri only turning 19 on November 25.

    Pedri enjoyed a fine season with Barca before leading Spain to the Euro 2020 semi-finals and featuring in the country's run to an Olympic Games silver medal.

    Afterwards, Pedri heaped praise on his former Barca team-mate Messi, who left Camp Nou for Paris Saint-Germain at the start of the season.

    "Messi helped me a lot in my career and made me a better player," Pedri told reporters following the ceremony in Paris.

    "It was fantastic to learn from a player like Lionel Messi.

    "It was a spectacular year, and I am super happy with how things went. I think I improved as a player and a person."

    On Messi's high-profile Barca exit, Pedri added: "Leo was an important player and the best player in the world. I just have to carry on playing and doing what I do at Barcelona."

    Pedri was also named on the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or, finishing 24th in the overall rankings.

    "Well every player wants to win the Ballon d'Or. That's something that all footballers dream of having," he said.

    "But I have to be the best player I can and to carry in improving and working before I can on day hope to get that trophy."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.