Diego Simeone was part of the Atlético team that won the Doblete in 1996 and is one of the most popular players to have ever worn the red and white shirt. Possibly we’ll have another Simeone donning the rojiblanco jersey in some years time, because his son Giovanni is regarded a big talent and admits to being a big Atlético fan. Javi Lozoya makes his debut on AtléticoFans.com and translated an interview the youngster recently gave to Marca.
Giovanni Simeone (Born in Madrid in 1995), is the eldest son of former Atletico player, Diego “El Cholo” Simeone and he inherited his father’s passion towards football.
But, unlike his father, “Cholito” is excelling at River Plate youth teams as an outstanding goalscoring forward and he has been labeled as one of Argentina’s most promising youngsters so much that he was rewarded by the Buenos Aires outfit with his first professional contract.
Several big European teams have scouted him, but Gio’s dream is to wear the famous red and white jersey that his dad once wore.
Question. When did you decided to become a footballer?
Answer. The truth is that I always played football. At home with my dad and my brothers. I also played in Italy, but for fun. It was the same when we came here (Argentina) and then I was enrolled in the Ángel Labruna school. But it was when I signed for River that the idea of becoming a football player became a serious thing.
Q. Did your father want you to become a professional footballer?
A. He never force me into it or anything like that. On the contrary. He always wanted me to enjoy football and have fun, without feeling any pressure. I asked him for permission to try out at River, where I’m now also studying. And, luckily everything is going fine and I’m enjoying it.
Q. Is it difficult for you to make a name for yourself being that you are “Cholo” Simeone’s son or do you think that it has help you instead?
A. Well, my dad is always gonna be my dad, and I’m always gonna be his son. It’s true that at first I felt pressured. Some people imagined that I joined River because of him. But, after three years, they know me because of myself and not my dad’s influence. And I would like for things to stay just like that, for people to value me for who I am.
Q. Did you always play as a forward?
A. Well, at first I wanted to play like a number 5 (defensive midfielder), just like my dad. But when I was in Italy I decided to leave that position. And when I started in the Ángel Labruna school, I requested to play upfront. Recently, since the last three years, I’ve become a ‘9’. I feel comfortable playing like that.
Q.Who are your role models and references in the ‘9’ position that you like?
A. I watch a lot of players who play in my position. Ronaldo was always my idol. And when I was a little kid, I always liked Crespo. Now I watch Higuaín, Eto’o, Milito, Villa, Cristiano… When my father was coaching Estudiantes, I always watched Pavone. And at River, Falcao. Two great players.
Q. What did you liked about them (Pavone and Falcao)?
A. In Pavone’s case, I liked his headers and how he could keep hold of the ball. He scored a lot of goals. And about Falcao, his movement inside the box. He has a lot of mobility and proficiency to score goals by surprise.
Q. Would you like to play in Europe?
A. Yes, of course, at Atlético Madrid. That’s another one of my dreams, as well as playing for the Argentinian national team. I have good memories of the club, the people, of how we were treated. I will never forget the matches my dad played at the Calderón or his farewell match. That was unique. I always follow their matches. You suffer, of course, but it is a big club.
Q. What is it that you like about Atleti?
A. Everything. Their colors, their fans and faithful, who are similar to the ones in Argentina. It is a big club. For me it would be an honor to play for Atletico. My dad left his mark there and I would like to wear that jersey someday.
Q. Why do you have the Champions League trophy tattooed on to you?
A. Because it would be great to play in it. And playing in the competition with Atleti would be even better. Hopefully that dream will come true someday.
This interview was carried out by Veronica Brunati for Marca.