Lionel Messi: When Diego Simeone applauded Barcelona legend after he broke Atletico hearts

Lionel Messi celebrates in Atletico 0-1 Barcelona in 2019

Diego Simeone must have been relieved when Lionel Messi departed Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain last summer.

When Simeone became manager of Atletico Madrid in 2011, Messi was in the peak of his powers at Barcelona.

Simeone made Atletico one of the best teams in Spain but Messi always seemed to have success against the Madrid club.

According to Transfermarkt, Messi has scored 24 goals and recorded 32 assists in 43 games against Atletico.

He has broken Atletico fans’ hearts on numerous occasions in the past.

And one of the most iconic times he did so was on December 1, 2019.

The match between the two La Liga giants was goalless going into the final moments.

But Messi went on to win it for his side with a piece of brilliance in the 86th minute.

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez celebrate in Atletico 0-1 Barcelona in 2019
MADRID, SPAIN – DECEMBER 01: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal with Luis Suarez during the Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and FC Barcelona at Wanda Metropolitano on December 01, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Messi picked up the ball roughly 40 yards on the right hand-side.

He drove towards goal, played a one-two with Luis Suarez and then curled the ball magnificently into the bottom corner.

Footage captured Simeone’s reaction to the goal. It’d be understandable if he was raging due to his side going behind so late in the game.

But that’s now how Simeone reacted. Instead, he just held his hands out as if to say ‘what can you do?’ before applauding the Barcelona legend’s brilliance.

A video showing the incident has emerged on Twitter once again and you can view it below…

A truly classy goal from Messi and a brilliant reaction from Simeone. After the game, Simeone said about the goal, per Tribuna: “Because with a great goal like that, all you can do is applaud. The move, when the counter-attack started, had the smell of great danger. He scored a ‘golazo’.

“Barca handle that situation very well. And they scored a ‘golazo’. When [Luis] Suarez and Messi are in a dangerous situation, they rarely fail.”

Last year, Simeone revealed he called Luis Suarez, who was at Atletico at the time, to try and gauge whether Messi would be interested in joining Atletico.

“When what happened at Barcelona happened, we called Luis,” Simeone told Argentinian newspaper Diario Ole, per ESPN.

“I didn’t call Leo. But I called Luis to say ‘look, how is he? Would he be keen? Is there the slightest possibility… imagining that he could come to Atletico Madrid.”

Messi ended up joining PSG, but at least that meant Simeone and his side wouldn’t have to play against the legendary forward at least two times a year any more.

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