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Leicester City vs Atlético Madrid: What we know about the Spanish side

Photo: PA

Leicester City have defied the odds again by progressing into the quarter finals of the Champions League. After navigating their way past Sevilla many fans may have been hoping they'd finally get the opportunity to face Real Madrid or Barcelona but the draw has presented them with another Spanish side this time in the form of Atlético Madrid.

Atlético currently sit fourth in La Liga Credit: PA

The Spanish side are perhaps one of Europe's more underrated teams compared to the giants of football that make up the last eight of the Champions League draw.

However, they have an illustrious history with ten domestic titles. The most recent came in 2014 when they beat Barcelona on the final day of the season in dramatic fashion to secure the trophy in Catalonia.

Atlético were beaten by Real in 2016 on penalties Credit: PA

They've also won the Copa Del Rey ten times which is the Spanish equivalent of the FA Cup.

In more recent times they've been involved in two of the last three Champions League finals. In 2014 and 2016 they faced city rivals Real Madrid but on both occasions were beaten.

Credit: JuanJo Martin/EFE/PA Images

Diego Simeone has been Atlético's manager since 2011 and has been lauded for establishing them amongst the elite sides in Europe. His style of play and the way he sets out his team has drawn comparisons to the way Leicester won the Premier League last season.

These similarities included using a 4-4-2 formation, playing counter-attacking football and placing emphasis on defensive solidarity. It's worth mentioning that when former Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri was named FIFA Coach of the Year in 2016, Simeone came third.

Griezmann won the golden boot at Euro 2016 Credit: PA

Antoine Griezmann is by far Atlético's biggest threat in attack.

He has attracted interest from Manchester United & Chelsea recently and was named 'Player Of The Tournament' at this summer's European Championship whilst playing for France. Griezmann has racked up 22 goals already this season playing as a striker and sometimes as a winger. His most recent was a superb free kick against Sevilla.

Elsewhere Atlético have quality in all areas across the pitch. Koke and Saúl Ñíguez are regulars in midfield chipping in with a fair share of goals and plenty of assists. Former Liverpool and Chelsea striker Fernando Torres offers experience as well as Diego Godin whose loyalty to the Spanish side has contributed to their recent success.

They offer attacking fullbacks in the form of Filipe Luís and Juanfran who also provide a solid rearguard in front of Jan Oblak, a goalkeeper rated among the best in Europe.

Atlético have strength in depth Credit: Victor Gonzalez/EFE/PA Images

Atlético's stadium was built in 1967 and is located in the heart of Madrid on the banks of Manazares. Leicester City will be the last English side to play there with the club moving to a new ground for the start of next season.

Atlético's home ground Credit: Mariscal/EFE/PA Images

Atlético boast a formidable record at home and in Europe particularly. In their last 25 home games in the Champions League they've won 19, drawn 4 and lost 2, conceding only 8 goals. In that period they've seen off clubs like Barcelona, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Chelsea.

In their last five meetings against English opposition they've only lost once. That came against Liverpool in a Europa League semi final where they went onto progress thanks to the away goal rule. Subsequently they beat another English side Fulham in the final.

Ian Marshall opening the scoring for Leicester Credit: PA.

Surprising as it may seem these two sides have met before, in the 1997/98 season they faced each other in the UEFA Cup. Martin O'Neill was in charge of Leicester and the season previously he oversaw a League Cup win which guaranteed them entry into Europe's second competition.

Atlético were blessed with talented players like Juninho and Christian Vieri. Leicester meanwhile had the likes of Steve Walsh, Muzzy Izzett and Emile Heskey in their ranks. However it was Ian Marshall who gave the Foxes the lead in Spain but in the second half Atlético proved superior and scored twice with the game finishing 2-1.

In the return leg at Filbert Street the Spanish side won 2-0 and thus dumped Leicester out of the competition.

Line-ups in 1997 Credit: ITV News
Steve Walsh leads his Leicester players out in the Vicente Calderon Credit: Michael Steele/EMPICS Sport

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