History beckons for Simeone

MILAN • Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone is ready to shoulder "113 years of history" ahead of a Champions League final with Real Madrid that striker Fernando Torres has labelled the "game of my life".

Record 10-time champions Real are the hosts at the San Siro in Milan today, when Atletico will seek to avenge their stunning defeat by their bitter city rivals in a pulsating 2014 final in Lisbon.

Real have beaten their city rivals only once in their 10 meetings since, raising expectations on Atletico to show they can also beat the competition's most successful club when it matters most.

But Simeone will not be shying away from the challenge.

"I like to have 113 years of history on my back. I love the pressure, I love it," he told the media at the San Siro yesterday. "To play a final is fantastic. To win it, there's nothing better."

  • Live screening

  • Eurosport and StarHub are holding a live public screening of the Champions League final between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid at Clarke Quay, Central Fountain Square, tomorrow morning at 2.45am.

    The screening is free for the public, and they can enjoy pre-match festivities from 10.30pm, where they can pit their skills against local footballers Izwan Mahbud, Gabriel Quak and Lionel Lewis to win Eurosport and Champions League merchandise.

Torres - a Champions League winner with Chelsea in 2012 - said he is ready to give it everything.

"There's no doubt, it's the most important game I am ever going to play," said the Spaniard, who returned to his childhood club in 2014 following an ill-fated spell in Serie A with AC Milan.

"With Chelsea and the Spanish national team I've won a lot of titles, but this is really special for me. To me it means everything. It's the game of my life."

Simeone's men go into the final boasting 35 clean sheets in 56 games this season, including shut-outs at home to Barcelona and Bayern Munich, who they dumped out in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively.

The Argentinian hailed Real manager Zinedine Zidane, and singled out midfielder Casemiro.

"He (Zidane) has done some amazing work," said Simeone. "He made the decision to rely on Casemiro, which has changed the team."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 28, 2016, with the headline 'History beckons for Simeone'. Print Edition | Subscribe