It took only a couple of hours after Atlético Madrid touched down in Singapore for us to meet their manager Diego Simeone.
Their first training session was scheduled to be in the evening of the same day they landed, all part of the International Champions Cup 2018 preseason tour. Despite being visibly tired, Simeone took on our questions from the press:
You’re a long way from home, how do you find Singapore and what do you hope to achieve from this tournament?
I’m really happy for being here in Singapore, but i’m a little bit tired as we just landed not too long ago. The main objective is to work together as a team for preseason.
The club has just signed Gelon Martins, what will he bring to the team?
We have been watching him over the last year and we saw him in the Europa League. He will bring us added strength on the right-hand side of the attack and can even play in a front three.
The World Cup stars are taking a well deserved break, how will this affect your preparations?
It is very important for them to rest after the World Cup. What is important here is that the new guys will have the opportunity to play for the first team and compete. It will give them what they need to know what it is like at Atlético.
Are you confident for the tournament with Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain having big names in their squad?
We are not taking any risks on what could happen these two games. What is important is to face Arsenal and according to the results, we’ll form a team to face PSG.
With the contract renewal of key players, the public and fans will be asking for more from the club in terms of trophies.
There is no one outside the club who would be asking more of themselves. Of course renewing contracts of key players is very important for us and we’re very happy with that.
Now that Ronaldo is out of the La Liga, what are your chances of winning the title?
We are not able to say what will happen in the future. We will face Real Madrid in the league and see what happens then, but as of now we are focused on planning and preparing for the present.
This season the English Premier League has decided to close the transfer window before the start of the season, do you think the same should be done in the La Liga?
There are different ways to handle this, and in Spain right now we have our own way of doing things.
There have been rumours linking Diego Godin to Juventus, what are your thoughts on that?
It is not a surprise, we’ve always had our really big players wanted by really big teams.
Atlético Madrid has broken their transfer record to sign Thomas Lemar, secured new contracts for key squad players and are moving into their new Wanda Metropolitano stadium – do you think this is a start of a new era where they will be competing with Europe’s elite?
The growth of the club will determine the growth of the team and this is how the fans will feel after the investments have been made. This reflects the growth of the team and we will be on the same level of the big teams in Europe.
The Rojiblancos look to be focusing very much on the present, instead of playing the role of seer in to the future. Simeone seems really grounded with the clubs rapid progression in terms of getting in new players and contract signings.
Definitely the right man to keep his team focused on training, preparation for their match against Arsenal and the new season.
Atlético Madrid kick off against Arsenal at ICC 2018 in Singapore on 26 July 2018 at 7:30PM (SGT – UTC +8).