The first time Diego Simeone pitted himself directly against Pep Guardiola, he had World Cup-winning Carlos Bilardo as his manager, World Cup-winning Diego Maradona beside him in midfield, Pep’s future treble-winning assistant Juan Carlos Unzue in goal and the prolific Davor Suker up front. Even so, he couldn’t beat Guardiola. Not that time.
A year later, he tried again, also with Sevilla; this time, Luis “the Wise Man of Hortaleza” Aragonés was his coach instead of Bilardo. Romario and future Sevilla manager Manolo Jimenez were both sent off, but for the second successive meeting, neither Simeone’s nor Guardiola’s team could muster a goal between them.
Two games, two 0-0 draws. What he would give for precisely that scoreline in Munich against Pep’s Bayern tonight!
After joining Atletico, Simeone’s first result against Guardiola was another scoreline — a 4-3 defeat at the Camp Nou — that would suit him in 2016. Neutrals would love that; Bayern fans would despair. Simeone would, in such a case, be in his second Champions League final in just two years.
Do you believe in such omens and echoes across the years? Some don’t, but some in football most definitely do.