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Atletico Madrid 'positive' after Real Madrid Champions League draw

Sid Lowe explains why few managers have made as big an impact at a club as Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid.

Atletico Madrid director Clemente Villaverde said the club were not daunted after being drawn against Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinals.

Atletico have lost two dramatic finals to their city neighbours, in 2014 and 2016, and were eliminated by them in the 2015 quarterfinals.

Asked on beIN SPORTS whether there was any negativity surrounding the draw, former Atletico defender Villaverde said: "No. Our fans and our players have known how to come back from playing two Champions League finals and losing them.

"They are aware of what it means to be here, and the effort that is needed to get here. They have the mentality that is required.

"We feel positive to be here enjoying a semifinal of Champions League for the third time in four years. We are proud of the team and all that Atletico Madrid means."

Real host the first leg at the Bernabeu on April 2, with the return at the Vicente Calderon, where Atletico have not conceded in their last nine Champions League knockout games, the following Wednesday.

Villaverde, asked whether having a home second leg would be an advantage, said: "You never know.

"For sure, the two games will be different. You have to adapt to each game and know how to read the opportunities that arise.

"We are happy at how we are developing over the season -- we are happy at how the team is arriving at the end of the season."

The second leg will be the last-ever European game at the Calderon, with Atletico moving to their new Wanda Metropolitano home in the summer, and Villaverde said: "A better goodbye is impossible.

"We hope to be able to honour this goodbye as it deserves."

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan

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