European Super League: Simeone refuses to criticise Atletico chiefs but backs withdrawal

By Sports Desk April 21, 2021

Diego Simeone was not prepared to criticise Atletico Madrid chiefs nor the premise of the European Super League following the proposed competition's collapse but backed the decision to withdraw.

Atletico were one of the 12 founding clubs to initially sign up for the tournament, which was announced on Sunday, but their plans crumbled within 48 hours.

The backlash was significant on Monday and then Tuesday proved pivotal, as English clubs took note of the passionate response from fans, media, players and coaches.

Manchester City became the first to withdraw, followed by Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham. Atletico, Inter and Milan followed on Wednesday

Atletico boss Simeone did not take the opportunity to openly criticise the plans during a press conference on the eve of Thursday's LaLiga clash with Huesca, as Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola did in previous days, but accepted it was the right decision.

Speaking of his talks with Atletico CEO Miguel Angel Gil Marin, Simeone said: "Going into what he told us is not appropriate, but we saw doubts about this situation and what happened later, last night, when the clubs began to leave the Super League.

"I was told after the last game, I understood that the club was going to decide what was best for the club. The club has looked at our fans, employees, players, president – the Atletico family."

When pressed for his own opinion, Simeone added: "Listen to what I said before. I was clear, concrete and true. There is nothing to hide.

"I was one of the first to be consulted after the match and I said that I absolutely trusted the club because they were going to do what was best for the club. We understand that this situation [the withdrawal] is good for everyone. We all belong to football – before being footballers and coaches, we are fans.

"They have known me for a long time, I do not like demagoguery or taking advantage of situations to strengthen myself.

"What I think, I tell the people I have to talk to. I do not like to express myself here."

Simeone still expects the events of the past few days to contribute to significant change in European football.

"Faced with seismic movements like this, something is going to change, for sure, I have no doubt," he said. "And for the better, don't get me wrong.

"When there are movements, the parties will have to get closer and find what everyone wants or wanted before."

Related items

  • Teams from Belarus and Ukraine no longer to be drawn together following Russian invasion Teams from Belarus and Ukraine no longer to be drawn together following Russian invasion

    Teams from Belarus and Ukraine will not be drawn together in future, UEFA has announced.

    European football's governing body has already banned Russian sides from appearing in its competitions following the country's invasion of Ukraine.

    The role of Belarus in facilitating this invasion also prompted sanctions for Belarusian teams.

    UEFA had already decided no matches would be played in Belarus and supporters of Belarusian teams would be banned from attending nominal home games.

    And in a further move announced on Friday, UEFA said it would prevent sides from Belarus and Ukraine from meeting in future competitions.

    "The UEFA Executive Committee will remain on standby to convene further meetings to reassess the legal and factual situation as it evolves and adopt further decisions as necessary," a statement read.

    Meanwhile, UEFA's rules relating to coronavirus for the upcoming Women's Euro 2022 were approved.

    Any players who contract COVID-19 or "who have been anyway put in isolation" will be classed as "cases of serious illness", meaning they can be replaced in their nation's squad ahead of the first match of the tournament.

  • Abraham and Pellegrini make Conference League team alongside five Feyenoord finalists Abraham and Pellegrini make Conference League team alongside five Feyenoord finalists

    Tammy Abraham has been joined in the Europa Conference League team of the season by Roma team-mate Lorenzo Pellegrini, who was named the player of the season.

    Roma claimed their first UEFA trophy on Wednesday with a 1-0 win over Feyenoord in the inaugural Conference League final.

    Nicolo Zaniolo grabbed the decisive goal for the Giallorossi, but his attacking colleagues were preferred in a best XI named on Friday.

    Leading scorer Abraham and captain Pellegrini were among four Roma players recognised, with goalkeeper Rui Patricio and centre-back Chris Smalling also included after inspired performances against Feyenoord.

    Italy midfielder Pellegrini scooped the top individual award, but Feyenoord were also well represented, including young player of the year honours for Luis Sinisterra.

    Sinisterra registered 10 goal involvements (six goals and four assists) throughout the tournament, second only to team-mate and top marksman Cyriel Dessers (11 involvements), whose 10 goals made him the sole man to beat Abraham's tally of nine.

    Both Feyenoord forwards made the cut for the team selection, alongside defenders Lutsharel Geertruida, Gernot Trauner and Tyrell Malacia.

    Dimitri Payet was also included, as well as sealing the goal of the season award for his sweetly struck effort against PAOK in Marseille's quarter-final.

     

    Europa Conference League team of the season: Rui Patricio (Roma); Lutsharel Geertruida (Feyenoord), Chris Smalling (Roma), Gernot Trauner (Feyenoord), Tyrell Malacia (Feyenoord); Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Dimitri Payet (Marseille), Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (Leicester City), Luis Sinisterra (Feyenoord); Cyriel Dessers (Feyenoord), Tammy Abraham (Roma).

  • 'He's already the best in France' – Ronaldinho says Mbappe will continue making history after agreeing PSG stay 'He's already the best in France' – Ronaldinho says Mbappe will continue making history after agreeing PSG stay

    Kylian Mbappe is already the best player in France and can continue to make history after signing his new contract with Paris Saint-Germain, according to Ronaldinho.

    Last week, Mbappe agreed a new three-year deal with the Ligue 1 champions, rejecting Real Madrid's public advances in a huge transfer blow to the Champions League finalists.

    The World Cup-winning forward scored 39 goals and added 21 assists during a remarkable individual season with PSG, as Mauricio Pochettino's team secured a10th league title in the club's history.

    The 23-year-old is already the second-highest Ligue 1 goalscorer in PSG history, scoring 171 goals in 217 league outings for the Parisian giants – only Edinson Cavani (200 goals in 301 games) has more.

    Former PSG star Ronaldinho, who scored 25 goals in two seasons with the club before departing for Barcelona in 2003, says Mbappe is already out-shining team-mates Lionel Messi and Neymar.

    However, Ronaldinho also insisted PSG would have been able to cope had the France star left for Madrid, highlighting the quality of his team-mates.

    "Right now, of the future... he's a player that could be part of history," he told Mail Online. "He deserves all the respect he's getting. He is making history and can continue to create happiness for us in this game.

    "Today he is the best player for PSG. If he left to go anywhere else, it would only be to have the chance to be the best player in another country. He's already the best in France.

    "Paris Saint-Germain has some of the best players in the world right now – Messi, Neymar, Sergio Ramos. 

    "Some of the best players in the world are in this team. So, if one of the best players in the world leaves, other top players will continue in their place."

     

    Meanwhile, Ronaldinho's former Barcelona team-mate Messi endured a mixed first season in France, recording 11 goals and 14 assists in all competitions but being jeered by his own fans in the aftermath of March's Champions League defeat to Madrid.

    However, Ronaldinho insists the Argentine is happy in Paris, highlighting his 2021 Ballon d'Or win as evidence of his continued quality.

    The former Camp Nou star also insists Barcelona will recover from Messi's departure and return to the top of the game under Xavi's management, backing the Blaugrana boss to create another "beautiful" team.

    'If my friend is happy, it's the right decision, and I believe he is very happy," Ronaldinho said of Messi. "He is going through a period of adapting, but he's already been voted the best player in the world.

    "People said they were surprised when I left Barcelona and when Messi left. But Barcelona continues to be Barcelona. 

    "Things change in football, naturally. Now the club's hierarchy needs to bring in new players with talent to continue being successful.

    "They already have a great coach who has a foundation in the history of the club. So, the club can begin it's rebuild with this manager to create a beautiful team. They need to now give the manager the opportunity to build a great team.

    "It won't be easy. They need a bit more time to build a side that is based around the best players. But I think players are happy to be playing for one of the best teams in the world."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.