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Simeone hails 'extraordinary' Suarez

ESPN staff
May 8, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Simeone hoping to wrap up Champions League place

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has described Liverpool striker Luis Suarez as "extraordinary" but says he is not currently thinking about which players his club will sign in the summer.

With Radamel Falcao expected to leave the Estadio Vicente Calderon in the coming months, Atletico are likely to be in the market for a forward to spearhead their return to the Champions League next term. Liverpool striker Suarez has been suggested as an option, and the Colchoneros coach said he was a fan, but could not comment any further.

"I could not say anything bad about Luis Suarez," Simeone said. "He is extraordinary, but we have a game so we have to file away these other things for now."

The Argentine manager, speaking ahead of Wednesday's Primera Division trip to 19th placed Celta Vigo, denied that his side might be less motivated for the game than the relegation threatened Galicians as they still had to secure third spot in the table and qualification straight into the Champions League group stages.

"We have a really tough game and if we win will have a chance to go straight into the Champions League," Simeone said. "The boys have played an enormous season. We are still on path for the objective. We have an opponent with the same needs as us, they want to get out of their difficult situation, and we want to seal third place."

Atletico's success this term has been built on Falcao's 26 league goals in 31 games, but also a defence which has already kept 19 clean sheets. Simeone said on-loan Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois - who is set to claim La Liga's 'Zamora' best goalkeeper award - had been given valuable help by his team-mates.

"It is not just Courtois, it is the work of the whole team," he said. "He is a kid who wants to keep improving, he has enormous potential. He deserves praise, but so does the team. When we arrived we set out to improve the defence. We did that through commitment, this speaks of our strength as a team."

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