The level of passion on the touchline shown by Diego Simeone makes Jurgen Klopp feel like the “kindergarten cop” in comparison.
Both managers are in the top echelon across world football and often draw attention for their passionate displays on the touchline.
And despite contesting friendly fixtures against one another, they have never faced off in a competitive game prior to Tuesday nights Champions League round of 16 first leg tie.
The two managers will lead their sides out at the Wanda Metropolitano and Klopp is expecting a tough encounter against a “world-class result machine.”
And having shown his passionate side more often than not on the touchline, Klopp seemingly knows when he has met his match on the emotional stakes having explained that he is “the kindergarten cop” compared to Simeone.
“People say I’m emotional on the sideline, but if I’m level four then Diego is on level 12. I’m the kindergarten cop compared to him!” he told reporters.
“After [eight years as Atletico manager] to still have this emotional level, wow, it’s absolutely impressive.
“His teams are always world-class organised, so that makes him one of the best. We met once or twice, we exchanged some messages after big wins or big defeats.
“Tomorrow we meet competitively for the first time – it will be interesting!
“I don’t know him well enough to know the difference in his managerial style. But he was a world-class player and I wasn’t, we can say that easily.”
Simeone, however, has received plenty of criticism this season as Atletico currently sit fourth
in La Liga, 13 points behind leaders Real Madrid after picking up just 10 wins in 24 games.
The Spanish outfit are in a period of transition having lost a number of key players (Godin, Gabi, Griezmann) and while Klopp acknowledged it comes with the territory, qualification for Europe’s premier competition for 2020/21 would be a vital step in their return to the top.
“Can I understand it? That’s football. Eight years here, seven probably successful. Then you have to make a big change, you lose good players, that’s tough, you have to change the team and bring in new players and they have to get used to the philosophy. That takes time.
“People don’t give you time but for me, it looks like they will qualify for the Champions League next season. They are in a transition year and next year they are another step in the right direction.”