Luka Modric, Thibaut Courtois Respond to Diego Simeone's Real Madrid Criticism

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistDecember 16, 2018

MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 08: Thibaut Courtois and Luka Modric of Real Madrid  smiles during the Real Madrid training session on December 8, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Real Madrid stars Thibaut Courtois and Luka Modric have hit back at Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone after his comments about Los Blancos.

Per AS, the Atletico boss has been critical of the atmosphere at the Santiago Bernabeu and also suggested Modric and Courtois' individual prize successes were helped by the fact that they play for Los Blancos.

Speaking to Sportske Novosti (h/t AS), Modric, who recently won the Ballon d'Or, responded to the comments from Simeone:

"I can understand Simeone defending one of his own players, [Antoine] Griezmann, and thinking he was the best, but it's to his detriment that he feels the constant need to belittle Real Madrid and our players. He takes advantage of every opportunity to imply there is something else behind Real Madrid's triumphs which is totally false."

MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 15: Luka Modric of Real Madrid presents his Balon d'Or Trophy to the crown prior to the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Rayo Vallecano de Madrid at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on December 15, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo b
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Courtois, who played under Simeone at Atletico, said his former manager makes comments like this in order to appease his club's supporters.

"Simeone criticises Madrid so as to be popular with his fans," he said, per AS. "He always does it, attacks Madrid for being the best in the world."

Modric has been a central figure in Los Blancos' recent dominance of European football, helping the team win the UEFA Champions League three times in a row and in four of the past five seasons. His displays in the competition and with Croatia at the FIFA World Cup were key to his recent crowning as the best player on the planet.

Courtois joined Real in the summer from Chelsea, but as Bet365 relayed, things haven't gone well for the Belgium international or his new team since:

It was during a loan spell with Atletico when Courtois forged a reputation as one of the best goalkeepers in the world. He helped Simeone's team win a shock La Liga title in the 2013-14 season and helped the team to the Champions League final in the same campaign, where they lost to Madrid.

Courtois was part of the trademark defensive stability Simeone's teams enjoy. His record as manager of Atletico has been remarkable from that standpoint:

Atletico kept up the pressure on La Liga leaders Barcelona on Saturday, as they beat Real Valladolid 3-2. The Blaugrana, on the same points as Atletico, are in action on Sunday, when they travel to Levante.

Real Madrid beat Rayo Vallecano 1-0 on Saturday, responding well after their humiliating 3-0 loss at home to CSKA Moscow on Wednesday. They are consequently just two points behind their city rivals.

While the Madrid derby is always a fiery affair, the comments from Simeone, Modric and Courtois should make the next one especially spicy. The two sides are scheduled to meet on February 10 at the Wanda Metropolitano.

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