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Atletico Madrid key forward a doubt for Barcelona clash, confirms Simeone



Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Barcelona will sign off for the upcoming international break on Sunday as they take on Atletico Madrid.

The Catalans are coming on the back of solid momentum, having secured a berth in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. They have also secured wins in three of their last four league matches.

However, Atletico, too, are no slouch and are also in the quarterfinal of the UCL, having secured a win over Inter Milan this midweek.

Heading into this crucial game, Atleti coach Diego Simeone talked about Barcelona and several players in this tie, who have played for both teams.

Joao Felix, in particular, was in focus during the press conference. When asked about the Portuguese international, Simeone remained coy and refused to even utter his name.

“I am very respectful of players who play for other teams. I don’t normally think about any of them and this is no exception. We played a beautiful game and from that effort, we hope to play a great game,” he said.

Simeone went to talk about Antoine Griezmann, who was involved in a controversy this midweek after hurling insult at another former Barcelona player Alexis Sanchez.

The Atletico manager confirmed that he is a doubt for the match and insisted a final call will be taken tomorrow afternoon.

“Tomorrow at noon I will sit down with him and we will see what is best for us and for him,” Simeone said.

The Atleti coach talked about another ex-Barça in Memphis Depay. “In some games when he started, he did well. Football players go through stages. He is a great player, I have been saying for a long time, that we need him,” he said.

Griezmann is a doubt for Barcelona clash (Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images)

He has had continuity since he arrived. We need what he did when he came in: strong, aggressive, with all that football and that winning mentality that he has,” he added.

Depay has indeed done well at Atleti this season, notably racking up nine goals in all competitions. He will be looking to make a statement against his former club this weekend.

Simeone, too, has a point to prove after losing to Barcelona 1-0 in the first leg at Montjuic.

“It is clear that it will not be the same game. They have less wear and tear, but there will be a big effort that we will have to make to match the intensity, as we did the other day. We have to continue in this line of winning duels in the games,” the Argentine said about this tie.

Finally, Simeone reflected on what’s at stake for Atletico Madrid in La Liga. After all, Los Colchoneros are locked in a battle with Athletic Club for the fourth position.

“The League requires us to be attentive. The championship is complicated because Athletic Club are doing very well and Real Sociedad are also coming strong,” he said.  

“We are up against a team that we know well because they have hurt us in the last few games. We hope to take the game to where we believe we can do damage,” he added.

Source: Diario AS

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