Ancelotti: Simeone is a major threat to Barcelona and Real Madrid

Carlo Ancelotti has warned former club Real Madrid and Barcelona to expect a strong challenge from Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid in 2015-16.

Ancelotti was sacked at the end of last season and replaced by Rafa Benitez after the club failed to defend their Champions League and Copa del Rey crowns and finished second in La Liga.

Madrid suffered an infamous 4-0 derby defeat to Atletico under the Italian last season and he believes Simeone and his side will pose a real threat in Spain’s top flight this term.

“It will be the same as the past three seasons,” he said. “This year Atletico Madrid will be very strong, they are going to be a big threat to Barcelona and Real Madrid.

“Simeone is a manager who knows how to get the best out of his players, so matching up to them on the pitch will be very difficult.”

Ancelotti also wished Benitez well for his debut campaign in charge of Madrid and again paid tribute to his former players.

“I know first hand what it is like to train Real Madrid,” he continued.

“I wish Rafa Benitez the best, I have a lot of respect for his work. I can only say that he has a great squad under his charge and that is because I was fortunate enough to coach them for the last two seasons.”

Atletico and Barcelona have secured maximum points from their first two La Liga matches this season, while Madrid are two points adrift with four.