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Simeone motivated by Real Madrid fans' praise

Simeone guided Atletico Madrid to the Liga title against the odds last season and also led his side to the UEFA Champions League final - which Real won after extra-time.

The former Argentina international wrote off Atletico's chances of retaining their title at the start of the current campaign, but said praise from Real fans has given him extra motivation as the Spanish champions prepare to renew their rivalries with Carlo Ancelotti's side.

"Beyond what happens during a football match, a lot of Real fans have congratulated me and value my hard work. That helps me to continue progressing and improving." Simeone told Clarin newspaper 

"People identified themselves with our hard work, our commitment, how we faced our difficulties and kept going through tough times.

"They could see similarities between Atletico and [Diego] Maradona's Napoli, a humble side competing against the likes of Inter, Milan and Juventus. We're a small-time team and that makes us likeable."

Simeone stated that he was not interested in personal plaudits on the back of what he achieved last season.

"I don't work for people's recognition. I'm not obsessed with being liked." he said. 

"I play to win, I look to be competitive and I get really caught up in a player's development."