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Feb 1, 2017 at 8pm UK at Vicente Calderon Stadium


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Diego Simeone ready to take on 'world's best side' Barcelona

Diego Simeone believes that Atletico Madrid's Copa del Rey semi-final opponents Barcelona are currently the best side in the world.

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has challenged his players to show that they have it in them to overcome 'best side in the world' Barcelona en route to lifting the Copa del Rey crown.

The Rojiblancos' reward for beating Eibar 5-2 over two legs in the last round is a semi-final tie with Barca, who are aiming to become the first team in the modern era to win the trophy three times in a row.

Simeone is not surprised to see Barcelona yet again make it through to the latter stages of a major competition, but he is hopeful that history repeats itself as his side have triumphed in the clubs' last two semis.

"I value it as a semi-final and it's normal to face these against major teams, we're used to that," he told reporters. "To reach the best, you have to be champion and you have to go through them [Barca]. They're the best in the world.

"We've had five years here and I don't understand any way to be champion other than to face them. They're usually in the semi-finals of the Copa, of the Champions League. It's the normal road for the Copa."

The first leg of the semi-final tie will take place next Wednesday, before the teams face off six days later in the return meeting at Camp Nou.

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Saul Niguez and Jordi Alba in action during the Champions League quarter-final between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona on April 13, 2016
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