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Lazio and Atlético test Simeone's loyalties

Diego Simeone will return to Rome as a visiting coach on his first European game in charge of Club Atlético de Madrid which takes him to another of his old sides, S.S. Lazio.

New Atlético coach Diego Simeone had spells with both clubs as a player
New Atlético coach Diego Simeone had spells with both clubs as a player ©Getty Images

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.

Previous meetings
• 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).

Match background
• 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.

Team facts
• 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.

Competition statistics
• An updated version of the UEFA Europa League Statistics Handbook is available here:

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