Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone cut a relaxed figure on Tuesday as he spent time with his family ahead of this week’s Europa League semi-final second-leg tie against Arsenal.
The fiery Argentine, who celebrated his 48th birthday in stylish fashion over the weekend, took a break from preparing his side for Thursday night’s decider at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium and posed for a photograph in the glorious Madrid sunshine alongside partner Carla Pereyra and one-year-old daughter Francesca.
Simeone began dating compatriot, model and social media favourite Pereyra – 17 years his junior – in early 2014, with Francesca arriving in September 2016.
Atletico head into their second meeting with Arsenal confident of progression having defied the early dismissal of right-back Sime Vrsaljko and Simeone’s banishment to the stands to seal a 1-1 first-leg draw at the Emirates Stadium last week.
Antoine Griezmann escaped the attentions of fellow Frenchman Laurent Koscielny to crucially cancel out Alexandre Lacazette’s header with eight minutes remaining in north London, tipping the balance of the tie firmly in Atletico’s favour.
Atletico Madrid currently second in La Liga and 11 points adrift of unbeaten champions Barcelona following Sunday’s narrow win at Alaves, have conceded just four times all season at their new home, while weary travellers Arsenal have lost all of their Premier League away fixtures since the turn of the year.
Simeone faces a potential touchline ban if his side reach the final in Lyon, with UEFA set to rule on charges of insulting a match official and improper conduct after the second leg on Friday.
With Arsenal now guaranteed to finish outside of the top four for the second successive season, the Gunners must win Europe’s secondary club competition in order to regain their place in the Champions League and prevent their remaining fixtures becoming nothing more than a drawn-out farewell to outgoing boss Arsene Wenger.