Diego Simeone on Lazio Glory Days and Potential Serie A Return

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone was a guest of honor at Napoli’s Scudetto celebrations, with his son Giovanni Simone playing a part under Luciano Spalletti enroute the historic win. The Argentine has strong ties with Italy and Serie A, having played for Pisa, Inter and Lazio during the top flight’s glory days in the 1990’s.

Simeone, who himself won the title with the Biancocelesti in 2000, believes there is a strong distinction between the team he played in and the current Partenopei side, as he relayed to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“That Lazio is the strongest team I’ve ever played for their individualities. Napoli is even more solid as a group and in its mechanisms.”

The Atleti coach shed light on the title-winning squad he was a part of.

“There were lots of very strong players. Every training session was a battle. I remember that Roberto Mancini snapped once because I didn’t pass him the ball. I told him: ‘You wouldn’t make it to the box.’ He replied: ‘You should have put it behind the defensive line, not in front of it.’ He was right. That phrase stuck with me and today I teach it to my players. We weren’t great friends, but a few good coaches came out of that group. Juan Sebastian Veron and I didn’t get along, we didn’t talk, but we understood each other on the pitch. I reminisce the assist for the goal with which we beat Juventus in Turin, which was decisive.”

Simeone had a brief six-month stint with Catania in 2011, helping them stave off relegation, and didn’t rule out a managerial move back to Serie A in the future.

“I often meet Inter and Lazio fans who ask me to come back. Who knows? I’d certainly like it.”

Finally, Simeone gave some context on Giovanni’s move to Naples from Verona.

“When he told me that there was the possibility of coming here, I didn’t need to convince him. After he flew in, he immediately told me on the phone: ‘Dad its beautiful, I want to win something important here’, and he succeeded.”

Simeone won the Serie A, Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana, and UEFA Super Cup in 1999/00 during his stay with Lazio.

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