Atletico Madrid supporters would rather go out in the Champions League semi-finals than suffer the prospect of a potential third final defeat to rivals Real Madrid, according to Bernd Schuster.
Former Real head coach Schuster, who also represented Atletico in his playing days, has a feeling the two Madrid sides will be drawn to face each other in the semis.
But if they are kept apart when the last-four draw takes place in Nyon on Friday, he thinks supporters of Diego Simeone’s side would be dreading the prospect of progressing to face Real, who beat them in both the 2014 final and last season’s showpiece.
“Some of my Atletico-supporting friends have told me they would rather lose in the semi-finals than play Real Madrid in another final,” Schuster told Marca.
“But I am convinced we will have a derby in the semi-finals.
“Real Madrid have more squad depth and that is very important in a long season.
“Having the best squad doesn’t always bring you success, but Zinedine Zidane knows how to get the best out of this team.
“They played great in the tie against Bayern Munich and are a worthy semi-finalist.”
Juventus and Monaco are the other semi-finalists, but Real’s immediate attention is on El Clasico, with Zidane’s side hosting Barcelona at Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.
“If Barcelona lose then they can say goodbye to La Liga,” added Schuster.
“Barcelona come into it on the back of their Champions League elimination, but that will be behind them by the time they take to the field.
“In the Bernabeu, though, Real Madrid are the favourites. Neymar is a very important loss for Barcelona and I’m sure they will feel it.”