Monday March 10 2014
Diego: Milan strong in Europe

Diego Ribas has outlined how Atletico Madrid maintain great respect for Milan ahead of this week’s Champions League second leg.

The Rossoneri head out to the Vicente Calderon to try to overturn a first leg 1-0 deficit to Los Colchoneros in this Last 16 tie.

For Atleti’s returned Brazilian playmaker, the prospect of Clarence Seedorf’s side still garners respect, in spite of their domestic struggles.

“It is true that in Serie A, the results are not as you would expect from Milan, but our respect has not changed, it remains very high,” Diego has told today’s edition of the Gazzetta dello Sport.

“We expect a tough game, they attack well and are organised. But we are ready. I think of the tradition of the big European clubs, and of what is at stake - the game is worth a lot, for us and for them.

“The concentration and preparation for Milan will be different. And even the European experience of Seedorf will have its own weight.”

Diego was asked if he has spoken to former Santos teammate Robinho and fellow Brazilian Ricky Kaka recently.

“Yes, in Milan and for a long time. We are friends and we have spoken about many things, but to be honest, not much about the game.

“Mario Balotelli? He is the main offensive weapon for Milan. We must devote to him special attention. The important thing, however, is in the moments behind him - to prevent the ball arriving to him.

“And then there is the other man to stop, Kaka.

“What bothers me most? The organisation. And they know what they want. They know how to wait for the right moment to act.”

It was put to the 29-year-old that Atletico remain favourites to advance this week to the quarter-finals.

“The reality now is very different than that of the recent past. Atletico today are a team that is used to winning, who knows what they want and how to get it.

“We have great confidence. We must continue to grow, starting from tomorrow.

“Are we favourites? Let’s say we have an advantage, nothing more.

“What memories do I have of Milan? When with Werder Bremen we eliminated them in the [2008-09] UEFA Cup and I scored a goal, but in Serie A with Juventus I lost to them twice 3-0…”

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