Diego Simeone says his forward, Diego Costa, is as important for Atletico Madrid as Cristiano Ronaldo for Real and Lionel Messi for Barcelona.
The Argentine has included Costa into his squad to face Barcelona in the second leg of the all-Spanish semi-final, but confirmed his top-striker will only play if he is at least by 90 percent.
“I said it last week, Diego Costa is equal for us what Ronaldo is for Real Madrid and Messi for Barcelona,” Simeone said.
"Whether he plays or not, the side needs a player who is at least 90% fit.
“If he doesn't play we have Adrián, who will give us a lot, it will be a great opportunity for him, I have confidence with him and I'm sure he will score.”
Simeone believes the tie will be a clash of styles and football fans are up for one of the Champions League’s best games.
"I live the game as a consequence of the opponent we are facing, and obviously it’s an important game, a nice one, but it will be a passionate game with two sides with different styles of play,” he continued.
“One with possession, talent, history of the last decade, and us with humility, strength, effort, heart and heart work, looking after spaces and the counterattack.
“We’ll see who wins the fight of styles and who will be stronger. The truth is it’s exciting for football that there’s going to be a quarterfinal like there will be tomorrow and hopefully the players can see it this way and give their all because it will be one of the Champions League’s best games.”
The Atletico coach tried to downtalk the pressure on his side, while he hints Barcelona are under the expectation to reach their seventh consecutive Champions League semi-final.
"I don’t think it’s pressure, it’s responsibility. A responsibility to play an important game for us, Barça’s responsibility to carry on making history.”
Diego Costa has scored 33 goals in all competitions for Atletico this season. How do you rate the hosts chances if he wouldn’t play? Have your say in the comment section below.