S.S. Lazio will hail a returning hero when Diego Simeone comes to Rome as the coach of Club Atlético de Madrid, bidding to lead the Spanish club into the UEFA Europa League round of 16.
• Sven-Göran Eriksson's Lazio eliminated Radomir Antić's Atlético to reach the 1997/98 UEFA Cup final in the sides' only previous meeting, Vladimir Jugović scoring the only goal 33 minutes into the first leg of the semi-final in Madrid.
• The teams for the goalless second leg in Rome on 14 April 1998 were:
Lazio: Marchegiani, Negro, Favalli, Mancini, Nesta, Fuser, Grandoni, Gottardi, Nedvěd, Boksić (Casiraghi 75), Venturin.
Atlético: José Molina, Vizcaíno, Vieri, Pantić (Nimni 89), Lardín (José Mari 55), Aguilera, Narváez, Geli, Prodan, Bejbl, Cristian Díaz (Paunović 77).
• Lazio's record in 16 games against Spanish sides reads W5 D4 L7 (W3 D4 L1 at home).
• Lazio beat RCD Mallorca in the final of the 1998/99 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in Birmingham, England.
• Atlético's record in 17 games against Italian sides reads W8 D2 L7 (W2 D1 L4 in Italy).
• The Rojiblancos played ACF Fiorentina in the 1961/62 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final, prevailing 3-0 in a Stuttgart replay after the first game in Glasgow ended in a 1-1 draw.
• Atlético beat FC Internazionale Milano 2-0 in the 2010 UEFA Super Cup in Monaco.
• Lazio have not conceded in their last three European games, and are unbeaten in four – two wins and two draws. Their four UEFA Europa League matches at the Stadio Olimpico this season have produced three wins and one draw.
• The Biancocelesti are playing in UEFA club competition after the winter break for the first time since 2002/03, when they lost to FC Porto in the UEFA Cup semi-finals.
• Atlético have won their last three European games since losing 2-0 at Udinese Calcio on matchday three.
• Atlético were last in the round of 32 in 2010; they beat Galatasaray AŞ, Sporting Clube de Portugal, Valencia CF and Liverpool FC to reach the final, which they won 2-1 against Fulham FC in Hamburg.
• Simeone replaced Gregorio Manzano as Atlético coach on 23 December. The former Argentina midfielder had two spells at the club as a player, winning a domestic double in 1995/96. He won the 1997/98 UEFA Cup with Inter and is coaching in Europe for a second time, having helped Calcio Catania avoid relegation from Serie A in 2010/11.
• Simeone played for Lazio from 1999 to 2003, winning the 1999 UEFA Super Cup in his first competitive game and a domestic double at the end of that season.
• Lorik Cana and Arda Turan were team-mates at Galatasaray last season.
• Diego (2009/10) and Tiago Mendes (2007-09) have both played in Italy for Juventus.
• Abdoulay Konko (Sevilla FC 2008-11), Albano Bizzarri (Real Madrid CF 1999/2000, Real Valladolid CF 2000-06, CF Gimnástic de Tarragona 2006/07), Matuzalem (Real Zaragoza 2007/08), Juan Pablo Carrizo (Real Zaragoza 2009/10) and Lionel Scaloni (RC Deportivo La Coruña 1998-06, Real Racing Club 2006/07, RCD Mallorca 2008/09) have all played in Spain.
• Once a midfield colleague of Fabio Capello's at SPAL 1907, Lazio's Edoardo Reja has been coaching since 1979 but did not make his Serie A debut until 1998 and had to wait another decade for his European bow with SSC Napoli.
• Diego Godín turns 26 on the day of the game; he has yet to play in a UEFA game on his birthday. He may be up against Uruguay team-mate Álvaro González in this tie.
Round of 16
• The winners of this tie will take on the victors in the tie between SC Braga and Beşiktaş JK in the round of 16 on 8 and 15 March, playing the first leg at home.
• Lazio have never met Braga but took on Beşiktaş in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup quarter-finals, winning 1-0 in Rome, then 2-1 in Istanbul. They also met in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League group stage, winning 2-0 away and drawing 1-1 at home.
• Atlético have met neither of their potential opponents in UEFA competition.
• An updated version of the UEFA Europa League Statistics Handbook is available here:
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