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Simeone and Guardiola

Josep Guardiola and Diego Simeone, the two managers that will face off at the Vicente Calderón this weekend, have a lot in common. Despite the differences in how they manage their teams or how they played when they both graced the football pitch, the similarities between the two men are unavoidable.

Many similarities

To start, during their playing careers they both played in Spain (Guardiola for Barça and Simeone for Seville and Atlético Madrid) and Italy (Guardiola for Brescia and Simeone for Lazio, Pisa and Inter). Both have had similar successes on the pitch and on the bench: both players claimed League titles for their teams (Guardiola for Barça, Simeone for Atlético and Lazio) and as managers (Guardiola for Barça, Simeone for Estudiantes de La Plata and River Plate); they both claimed two titles in one year (Guardiola in the 1997/98 season and Simeone in the 1995/96 season with Atlético and the 1999/20 season with Lazio).

Now, both men are managing the teams that they played for when they were footballers. To boot, both Guardiola and Simeone are 41 years old, they are only nine months apart.

Who is Simeone

When it comes down to it, are Guardiola and Simeone really that similar? “When he started in Argentina he stood out for his offensive football stance (he led Estudiantes de La Plata and River Plate to consecutive titles), but when he arrived in Italy, to rescue Catania from relegation, he bet on a much more conservative approach. This tendency, when at Racing Club in 2011, seriously hurt his credit with the fans and the press,” said Walter Vargas, journalist on the Estudiantes de La Plata beat, to fcbarcelona.com.

Vargas added: “however, now that he’s on a path, Atlético Madrid’s path, where he has the love of the people that he earned when he was a player, Simeone is going through a third period [of his coaching career] where his most mature side should manifest. He’s a methodical professional, severe, he’s suspected of crossing the rigorous European line - ‘the only thing that I do not negotiate on is effort,’ as he said - and of forcing his tactical systems [on his teams], no matter what he’s a fantastic manager. He’s the type of manager that seeks to mix attitude with aptitude, intensity with technique, boldness on offence with a solid defence. Simeone and his Atlético Madrid will preserver in their search.”

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