FC Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid: Diego Simeone’s top five Camp Nou memories
Diego Simeone will take his Atletico Madrid side to the Camp Nou this Saturday for a top-of-the-table clash against Barcelona. The Argentine has plenty of experience at the iconic stadium, having played there several times as a player and having coached there on 11 occasions. Here are his top five moments at the stadium.
May 14th 1994: A goal on his first visit
The first time El Cholo took on Barcelona at the Camp Nou was during his stint at Sevilla when he scored the opening goal of the game. As a ball dropped inside the penalty area, the Argentine appeared out of nowhere to head it over Andoni Zubizarreta for the lead. The euphoria didn’t last too long, though, as Barcelona went on to win 5-2 in order to pip RC Deportivo to the league title on the last day of the season.
February 7th 1995: A penalty and a victory
Simeone made the move from Sevilla to Atletico in the summer of 1994 and his new team met Barcelona in that season’s Copa del Rey last 16. It was the blockbuster clash of the round and the Argentine was involved in the most decisive moment of the whole tie. Barcelona had taken an early lead through current Alaves coach Abelardo, but then Simeone launched an excellent counter attack that finished with Barca goalkeeper and future Spain and Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui taking down Jose Luis Caminero for a penalty and red card. Up stepped Simeone to bury the spot kick and send Atletico on their way to a 4-1 win on the night and a 5-4 aggregate victory.
April 20th 1996: The most important win he didn’t take part in
In 1995/96 it was Simeone’s turn to win the La Liga Santander title. Los Rojiblancos travelled to the Camp Nou on Matchday 37 with the aim of maintaining their grip on top spot and they did so without Simeone, who was suspended and forced to watch the game from the stands. Even without their midfield marshal they earned a 3-1 win to take a huge step towards the title, a title they’d win with Simeone back in the side and scoring on the final day against Albacete.
April 1st 2014: Champions League joy
As a coach, Simeone oversaw one of the most memorable Champions League runs of recent memory as his fearsome Atlético de Madrid side reached the final in Lisbon in 2013/14. They knocked out Barcelona 2-1 on aggregate along the way and did so thanks in part to the stunning away goal scored by Diego in the 1-1 first leg at the Camp Nou. The fist-pumping Simeone on the sidelines immediately knew how special a moment that was.
May 17th 2014: The La Liga Santander title
A month and a half later, Atletico returned to the Camp Nou on the final day of the La Liga Santander season knowing that a draw would be enough to clinch the title. Although Alexis Sanchez put Barcelona in front, Diego Godín’s headed goal and a solid defensive effort earned the title-clinching 1-1 draw for Simeone’s side.