Diego Simeone names the most intense team Atletico Madrid have ever faced

Atletico Madrid v Chelsea FC - UEFA Champions League

In the Spanish league that's dominated by Real Madrid and Barcelona, Atletico Madrid are often left challenging for second or third place most years. 

In any other country, they'd certainly be fighting for the title every season, but just in the Spanish capital city, they're not even the biggest team. 

Los Blancos, Atletico's far more successful neighbours, dominated both domestically and continentally last term, winning La Liga and the Champions League.  

In the two years prior to that, Barcelona were the team to beat in Spain, winning the league in back-to-back years.   

But in the 2013-14 season, Atletico got a rare taste of success, finishing top of the table ahead of both Barca and Real.   

They became the first team to break a decade of dominance between the famous pair, which saw either of those two teams win the league in each season since Valencia in 2004. 

Unfortunately for Diego Simeone and his side, they've barely been able to get over the line in any competition since then, winning only the Spanish Super Cup in 2014.  

As well as falling short of challenging domestically, Atletico have seen the Champions League elude them on a number of occasions. 

Real Madrid v Club Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Champions League Final

They came runners-up in Europe's elite competition in the same year they won the league and were also beaten in the final in 2016. Both times, they lost to rivals Real, making it even more painful.

With the squad they have, Atleti are undoubtedly one of the continent's strongest forces but appear to be struggling early this season.    

They're fourth in La Liga with four wins from seven games but are struggling even more in their Champions League group. 

Atletico Madrid v Chelsea FC - UEFA Champions League

Simeone's side are third in Group C, behind Chelsea and Roma, picking up just one point from two games. 

That means they already have a task on their hands even reaching the knockout stages, let alone another final. 

Last week Madrid were beaten at home by Premier League champions Chelsea and following that match, manager Simeone has paid the English club a huge compliment. 


"We had never faced a team with the intensity of Chelsea," he told Spanish radio Cadena Ser, as per the Daily Mail.

"We struggled to press them effectively. We improved when (Antoine) Griezmann went on (Tiemoue) Bakayoko and left David Luiz free. But we were imprecise."

Naming the Blues as the most intense team Atletico have faced since 2011 is a huge compliment to Antonio Conte and his squad. 

Atletico Madrid v Chelsea FC - UEFA Champions League

Simeone has had to compete with the likes of Real, Barca, Milan and Bayern Munich during his time in the Atleti dugout.     

By naming an English team as his most intense opponent yet suggests that Premier League sides could once again become a force in Europe this year, after being disappointing in recent seasons.    

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