Luis Suarez labelled Manchester United “one of the best” ahead of a tantalising Champions League tie which one pundit thinks will produce a huge clash in manager styles.
At the second time of asking, Manchester United were drawn to face trial by fire against Diego Simeone’s tencaious Atletico Madrid. The initial draw had teed up a mouth-watering showdown between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. However, the meeting with PSG was ruled null and void after a series of blunders prompted UEFA to redraw the fixtures.
Atletico will provide an entirely different set of challenges to those PSG would have posed.
Simeone’s side are known for mastering the dark arts, though do boast an immensely talented squad of players.
Former Liverpool favourite Suarez qualifies for that category, and the Uruguayan is relishing the opportunity to face an old foe.
Speaking to Spanish outlet AS (via Football Espana), Suarez insisted “you have to beat the best” to win in Europe. In his mind, United fit that fill.
“I saw the second (draw),” said Suarez. “To win the Champions League, you have to beat the best.
“United are one of the best. We will go into the knockout stage in the best way possible.”
BT Sport pundit Owen Hargreaves gave his verdict on who the likely winners will be. In his view, there is little to split the two sides, though he is looking forward to a clash of styles between the two managers.
Both Simeone and interim United boss Rangnick are known for their high-intensity style. However, Rangnick prefers his teams to be on the front foot, while Simeone is content for Atletico to soak up pressure and punish opponents with lightning quick counters.
‘Atletico have got some world class players,” said Hargreaves (via the Metro). “Joao Felix, Luis Suarez, Jan Oblak, who is one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
Atletico offer swap deal for Martial
Atletico will offer United the chance at choosing a player as part of a swap deal.
‘It’s slightly easier for United [than PSG], but it’s a case of flipping a coin to see who will go through.
‘It’s a huge clash in styles between Rangnick and [Diego] Simeone. Atletico play more defensive on the counter.’
Natural Ronaldo successor rejects ‘record offer’
Meanwhile, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham are on high alert after Dusan Vlahovic rejected a ‘record offer’ to remain at Fiorentina, per a report.
The Serbian, 21, is already one of European football’s hottest properties. Fiorentina’s hopes of retaining Vlahovic for the long-term always appeared slim. Foillowing the Sun’s latest update, they now appear non-existant.
Fiorentina’s chief executive, Joe Barone, told Italian outlet Repubblica (via the Sun): “We’ve offered Vlahovic the highest contract ever in the history of Fiorentina, several times.
“Both Dusan and his agent made us realise that they do not want to accept. Our bid is still on the table.”
Key to the interest of each club will be what happens with their current centre-forwards.
From United’s perspective, Cristiano Ronaldo remains a potent force. But at 36, a long-term plan will need to be formulated at some stage. Furthermore, Edinson Cavani appears destined to join Barcelona in the winter window.