Inter host Atlético Madrid at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in leg one of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 on Tuesday, February 20, 2024.

This matchup is special for many reasons. Primarily, Atlético Madrid manager, Diego Simeone, returns to the San Siro to face a club he played for during his time as a player. While playing for Inter between 1997-1999, Simeone won the UEFA Cup under Luigi Simoni, spearheaded by legendary forward, Ronaldo Nazário. The Argentine often speaks fondly of his time in Italy and with Inter, as he has previously not been afraid to make his intention to manage in Italy and potentially Inter in the future clear. During his pre-match press conference on Monday, Simeone even rekindled these rumours, stating that “one day we will talk about Simeone as a coach in Italy”.

Additionally, after his time with Inter, Diego Simeone joined fellow Serie A outfit Lazio and linked up with none other than Simone Inzaghi. During Inzaghi’s pre-match press conference, he mentioned, “It will be a pleasure to see Simeone again, as an opponent. He was a great teammate. We always stayed in touch, we never lost sight of each other. He became a great coach”. Together at Lazio, Simeone and Inzaghi won the Serie A, Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana and UEFA Super Cup.

Furthermore, this round of 16 matchup will be special for Lautaro Martínez. Lautaro was one step away from joining Atlético Madrid in 2018 before he ultimately joined Inter- and the rest is history. The then 20-year-old forward had already undergone medicals with the Spanish side and Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo even published photographs of Lautaro posing with a six-year contract ready to be signed. Reportedly, Inter and Argentina legends Javier Zanetti and Diego Milito stepped in and convinced Lautaro to join Inter, while the Nerazzurri more than doubled Atlético Madrid’s €12M offer for the forward.

Diego Simeone is known to play defensive football and hit teams on the counter-attack, lining up similarly to Inter. Currently, Atléti finds themselves in fourth place in LaLiga, with the second highest goal-differential in the league, +24 (50 goals for, 26 against), behind Real Madrid with +37. In their previous three matches, the Colchoneros have lost twice, one in the Copa del Ray, falling 0-1 to Athletic Club, and the other a 0-1 defeat to Sevilla in LaLiga, while beating Las Palmas most recently 5-0 in LaLiga.

Inter, coming off a 4-0 decimation of Salernitana last week, will look to pull off a win at home. Comparatively, Inter averages 2.46 goals scored per match- Atléti averages 2. Inter averages 0.5 goals conceded per match, Atléti averages 1.04. It will be a much tighter match than the statistics may make it seem and two brilliant managers Diego Simeone and Simone Inzaghi going head-to-head will make for a wonderful match for the neutral.

According to SkySport Italy, Inter is expected to line up as follows (3-5-2): Sommer; Pavard, de Vrij, Bastoni; Darmian, Barella, Çalhanoğlu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Thuram, Lautaro Martínez. Juan Cuadrado, Francesco Acerbi and Stefano Sensi have all been ruled out through injury.

According to SkySport Italy, Atlético Madrid is expected to line up as follows (3-5-2): Oblak; Witsel, Giménez, Hermoso; Molina, De Paul, Koke, Saúl, Reinildo; Griezmann, Llorente. Álvaro Morata, who was in doubt to miss the match through injury, is available for selection.

Inter-Atlético Madrid in the Champions League round of 16 is set to kick off at 21:00 CET / 15:00 EST on Tuesday, February 20, 2024.