Martino, Sime­one pre­pare to re­new old ri­valry

Daily Trust - - SPORT -

Barcelona coach Ger­ardo Martino and his Atletico Madrid coun­ter­part Diego Sime­one clashed as ri­val play­ers in their na­tive Ar­gentina and there will be no quar­ter given when they meet in the last eight of the Cham­pi­ons League to­day.

A cal­low Sime­one was not yet 18 when he faced Martino, nearly 10 years his se­nior, in a league match be­tween Velez Sars­field and Newell’s Old Boys in Jan­uary 1988, when Martino was sent off for a chal­lenge on fel­low mid­fielder Sime­one, who was him­self dis­missed 10 min­utes later.

No stranger to con­tro­versy dur­ing his play­ing ca­reer -- Sime­one was in­volved in the send­ing off of Eng­land mid­fielder David Beck­ham at the 1998 World Cup -- he ad­mit­ted last year he had in­dulged in a spot of play-act­ing to try to pro­voke a red card for Martino.

“There was an in­ci­dent in the mid­dle of the pitch,” Sime­one re­called in an in­ter­view with Ar­gen­tine tele­vi­sion.

“He re­acted to some­thing, I ex­ag­ger­ated a bit and they ended up send­ing him off,” added the 43-year-old, said to play “with a knife be­tween his teeth”.

“They sent me off about 10 min­utes later, the ref­eree com­pen­sated a lit­tle for his ear­lier de­ci­sion.”

Al­most three decades later and the older and wiser Martino and Sime­one are in charge of two Span­ish teams with a gen­uine chance of achiev­ing a rare dou­ble of Cham­pi­ons League and La Liga ti­tles.

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