MADRID– Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone lavished praise on Lionel Messi after the Argentine produced a “tremendous” display in the 1-1 draw with Barcelona.
It was Saul Niguez who opened the scoring at Wanda Metropolitano, but Luis Suarez wrestled a point from the hosts with just eight minutes remaining.
However, Simeone believes that Messi, who returned from international duty after single-handedly booking Argentina a place at the World Cup with a hat-trick against Ecuador was the catalyst behind Barca’s momentum — which eventually earned the draw.
“The stadium was wonderful, we had another night of brilliant football, and with the impressive Messi — extraordinary,” Simeone said.
“Messi was the only one who you could see where, every time he touched the ball, something different could happen.
“He was certainly not as tired as many expected after the trip [from international duty in South America] because he played a tremendous match.”
But Simeone did have some kind words to say about his own left-footed superstar, Antoine Griezmann.
The Frenchman failed to get his name on the scoresheet, but Simeone insisted that he turned out his best performance at Atletico’s new home.
“For me, this was the best game that Griezmann has had at home,” Simeone added.
“He twice worked the goalkeeper, he countered with [Angel] Correa and he held the ball up well.” — DailyMail