Sports Monks

LaLiga: Diego Simeone, Zinedine Zidane offer contrast styles for their 14th Madrid derby

Simeone and Zidane have previously locked horns in the Madrid derby on 13 occasions, 12 times as managers of their respective sides, and once as players.

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone and his Real Madrid counterpart Zinedine Zidane will once again lock horns in a LaLiga contest at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in what will be the 14th Madrid derby between the duo.

Simeone and Zidane have previously locked horns in the Madrid derby on 13 occasions, 12 times as managers of their respective sides, and once as players.

Apart from the Madrid derbies, the two have also faced off eight times in Italy, during the days when Zidane represented Juventus while Simeone played for Inter Milan and Lazio.

The only duel between the Argentine and French icons as players in the Spanish capital came in December 2003—a fixture in which Brazil’s Ronaldo Nazario scored the fastest goal in the history of the Madrid derby (16 seconds) as the Los Blancos registered a 2-0 win.

Simeone played at the centre-back position instead of his regular midfield role, while Zidane set himself up in the midfield position. Zidane played an important role in the build-up towards Ronaldo’s goal, and ensured that neither Simeone nor goalkeeper German ‘El Mono’ Burgos could do anything about it.

This encounter turned out to be the final meeting between the duo as players. Their final head-to-head as players, including their Serie A appearances, ended up with Simeone and Zidane winning three and four matches respectively while two matches ended in draws.

Rivalry shifts to the dugout

The 2003 Madrid derby was played at a time when Real Madrid had dominated the fixture. Real Madrid were unbeaten across the Madrid derbies from 1999 to 2013, but Simeone’s time finally came when Atletico bounced back to beat Real 2-1 in the Copa del Rey final.

Jose Mourinho was Real’s manager that time and Cristiano Ronaldo had given Los Blancos an early lead in the 14th minute. However, Diego Costa equalised in the 35th minute and the score remained 1-1 after 90 minutes, meaning the match went to extra time. Finally, it was in the 98th minute when Brazilian Joao Miranda surged Atletico towards a 2-1 lead and eventually winning the trophy.

Zidane’s first Madrid derby defeat as manager came in a 1-0 loss in LaLiga at the Santiago Bernabeu.

In their managerial face-off, Zidane has an edge of six wins, four draws and two losses against Simeone. Zidane’s second defeat as Real Madrid boss may not have hurt him much as it came in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final in 2016-17— Real had already advanced to the final with an aggregate win.

The four draws have all come in the league — in eight LaLiga meetings between the two, Atletico won the first match while Real returned the favour in the second. The next four encounters ended with the spoils being shared before Real again edged the two latest derbies. 1-0 in the Matchday 22 of the season 2019/20, and 2-0 in the first derby this season.

Come Sunday, Atletico (58 points), who currently have a five-point lead over second-placed Barcelona (53), will look to extend their lead as the next chapter of the Simeone-Zidane rivalry promises to be a tight affair.

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