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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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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CReal Madrid38268480314986
2Barcelona382110768383073
3Atletico MadridAtletico38218965432271
4Sevilla381816453302370
5Real Betis381981162402265
6Real Sociedad381711104037362
7Villarreal3816111163372659
8Athletic Bilbao381413114336755
9Valencia381115124853-548
10Osasuna381211153751-1447
11Celta Vigo381210164343046
12Rayo Vallecano38119183950-1142
13ElcheElche38119184052-1242
14Espanyol381012164053-1342
15Getafe38815153341-839
16CadizCadiz38815153551-1639
17Mallorca38109193663-2739
18Granada38814164461-1738
RLevante38811195176-2535
RAlavesAlaves3887233165-3431

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