Ateltico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has said Real Madrid are handling life after Cristiano Ronaldo extremely well, adding that he would not read too much into their 3-0 midweek defeat at Sevilla.
Portugal captain Ronaldo left Madrid for Juventus in the summer, but new coach Julen Lopetegui has his side second in La Liga, level on points with leaders Barcelona, despite the Sevilla loss.
“Real Madrid are managing the absence of Ronaldo very well and they are competing enormously in every game,” Simeone said ahead of his side’s visit to the Bernabeu on Saturday.
“Derbies are games of emotions and men, men with lots of personality. Those who can play at the emotional limit are the ones who respond naturally to the game — they are the ones who end up resolving the game for their team.”
Atletico have not been beaten in five trips to the Bernabeu, but Simeone said he was only interested in Saturday.
“I don’t want to analyse what happened in the past,” he said. “In football, we live in the present. Tomorrow, we have a new and entirely different game from what we have played before.”
And Simeone added that, despite Real’s difficult night in Sevilla, he was under no illusions about the challenge Atletico would face.
“I don’t put an evaluation on a team based on their last game,” he said. “I value them based on their characteristics and their potential. We are up against one of the best teams in the world.
“I think Real Madrid have shown they are a very vertical side with [Marco] Asensio and [Gareth] Bale, footballers who have a great turn of pace, good movement in attack.
“And with the good vision of [Toni] Kroos, [Luka] Modric and [Sergio] Ramos, they can assist them. It combines well with the possession that [Dani] Ceballos and Isco give them with the rapid transitions of the others mentioned.”