Champions League

Atletico's Simeone wary of 'beast in front of goal' Ronaldo

2019-09-17 21:46
Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo (Getty Images)

Madrid - Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone on Tuesday hailed Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo as a "beast in front of goal" ahead of the two sides' Champions League group-stage meeting.

The 34-year-old Ronaldo scored a memorable hat-trick to help the Italian giants overturn a two-goal first-leg deficit against Atletico in last season's Champions League last 16.

The two teams meet again in their campaign opener at the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday.

"It's difficult to prepare something against a player like him," said Simeone of Ronaldo, who has scored an all-time record 126 Champions League goals.

"He is a beast in front of goal. He has tremendous records.

"Any situation with him near the area causes danger and needs attention. He isn't easy to control.

"He's good in the air, has a good shot, good change of pace... Are we going to talk about everything that he has?

"We have already suffered (against him)."

Ronaldo is playing his second season for Juventus and is hoping to win the Champions League with a third different club after his 2008 triumph with Manchester United and four titles while at Real Madrid.

After last season's surprise quarter-final loss to Ajax, Massimiliano Allegri has been replaced as Juve coach by Maurizio Sarri.

"We are going to play against a strong team, which has a lot of personality," added Simeone.

"Beyond the coach, Juventus have always had a very competitive, strong team, throughout their history."

Juventus are widely considered as one of the favourites to lift the Champions League trophy this season, but Sarri was quick to play down his side's chances.

"Italian football can't be considered as the favourite, because unfortunately that's not realistic, there are other, more competitive leagues," said the former Chelsea boss.

Atletico fell to their first defeat of the new La Liga season last weekend at Real Sociedad after starting the campaign with three straight wins.

They also saw key players Antoine Griezmann and Diego Godin leave in the transfer window, although Atletico did make Joao Felix one of the five most expensive signings in history by paying Benfica €126 million for his services.

"They (Atletico) are one of the teams that can think about winning (the Champions League)," Sarri said.

"Atletico have lost an incredible player (Griezmann), but have signed another (Felix) who is equally as good."

Sarri also revealed that midfielder Miralem Pjanic was available after suffering a knock in Juventus' weekend draw at Fiorentina.

 

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Stadium 19:55
Galatasaray v Club Brugge, Turk Telekom Arena 19:55
Juventus v Atletico Madrid, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Atalanta v Dinamo Zagreb, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Real Madrid v Paris SG, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Red Star Belgrade v Bayern Munchen, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiacos, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Valencia v Chelsea, Mestalla 19:55
Zenit St. Petersburg v Lyon, Saint Petersburg Stadium 19:55
Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund, Camp Nou 22:00
Slavia Prague v Inter Milan, Eden Arena 22:00
Genk v Red Bull Salzburg, Luminus Arena 22:00
RB Leipzig v Benfica, Red Bull Arena 22:00
Lille v Ajax, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 22:00
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Red Bull Salzburg v Liverpool, Red Bull Arena 19:55
Napoli v Genk, San Paolo 19:55
Ajax v Valencia, Amsterdam ArenA 22:00
Benfica v Zenit St. Petersburg, da Luz 22:00
Lyon v RB Leipzig, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Inter Milan v Barcelona, San Siro 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Slavia Prague, Signal Iduna Park 22:00
Chelsea v Lille, Stamford Bridge 22:00
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Dinamo Zagreb v Manchester City, Maksimir Stadium 19:55
Shakhtar Donetsk v Atalanta, Metalist Stadium 19:55
Bayern Munchen v Tottenham Hotspur, Allianz Arena 22:00
Bayer Leverkusen v Juventus, BayArena 22:00
Club Brugge v Real Madrid, Jan Breydel Stadion 22:00
Olympiacos v Red Star Belgrade, Karaiskakis Stadium 22:00
Paris SG v Galatasaray, Parc des Princes 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Lokomotiv Moscow, Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Saturday, 30 May 2020
TBA v TBA, Ataturk Olympic Stadium 02:00
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