- Last season’s semi-finalists Atlético Madrid open Group C at Roma
- Atleti coach Simeone signed two-year contract extension last week
- Simeone: “Our motivation is to win the Champions League”
- Giallorossi without high-profile summer signing Schick because of injury
- Roma’s weekend game at Sampdoria postponed due to weather conditions
Roma: Alisson Becker; Florenzi, Manolas, Juan Jesus, Kolarov; Strootman, De Rossi, Nainggolan; Defrel, Džeko, Perotti.
Out: Emerson (knee), Schick (thigh)
Atlético: Oblak; Vrsaljko, Godín, Giménez, Filipe Luís; Koke, Gabi, Ñíguez, Carrasco; Griezmann, Torres.
Out: A Fernández (hamstring)
Where to watch
Eusebio Di Francesco, Roma coach
[Diego Simeone’s] side have his identity. They know what he wants and they get results – maybe it’s not so aesthetic but it’s practical. What I want from my team is the right organisation. We’ve got to stay compact at all times. But I’d need a full day to explain my philosophy – I can’t describe it in two words. We’ve thought of a way of causing them problems, even if I can’t reveal it publicly. We need players who can take responsibility, players with character.
Diego Simeone, Atlético coach
We don’t have any inferiority complex. What happened in the past stays in the past, we look to the future. Tomorrow we start another adventure which we are excited about. I know Roma are a great side who like to play aesthetically pleasing football; they play well down the wings and are excellent technically. I believe in the future of this club. The challenge gets greater and greater. There’s life here. Our motivation is to win the Champions League.
Sampdoria P-P Roma
Valencia 0-0 Atlético
*All competitions, this season only. Most recent result first
Reporter’s view: Ben Gladwell (@UEFAcomBenG)
If there were a contest for coolness, Simeone and Di Francesco would feature prominently. You would not have been able to guess that this was the eve of their first UEFA Champions League group stage fixture of the season when they met the media today. Both were, of course, keeping their cards close to their chest, but if Roma can match Atlético on the field as well as their coach matched Simeone off it, then they will have done half of the job. Were you to ask Di Francesco now if he would take a draw, however, he would probably accept. Yet it is clear he wants more, and – humbly and silently – he genuinely believes his side can get it.
Did you know?
Atlético won both of the teams’ only previous fixtures, posting 2-1 victories home and away in the 1998/99 UEFA Cup quarter-finals. Read more in our extensive match background.