Inter Milan vice-president Javier Zanetti relishes the challenge against his friend and Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone.

On Monday, the draw pitted the Serie A giants against the Spanish capital club in the Champions League Round of 16.

This will be a special occasion for Simeone who played for the Nerazzurri between 1997 and 1999.

The former battling midfielder played alongside Zanetti, and the two compatriots still share an amicable rapport.

The Inter vice-captain expects a tough challenge against the Colchoneros, explaining how Simeone forged a club that portrays his footballing philosophy.

“I know ‘Cholo’ very well because we are friends,” said the Nerazzurri legend in his interview with via FcInter1908.

“Everyone is familiar with his coaching skills. His boys don’t give up until the end. We will face a tough team that embodies his vision of football.

“I believe that they will be two very balanced matches. Both sides will be prepared as best as possible.”

“Once you pass the group stage, you can only expect difficult tests.

“All the Italian clubs will compete against teams of value and tradition, especially in the Champions League.

“We will have to prepare for the match as best we can and arrive in great shape. There are all the conditions to move forward but we know well that there are pitfalls behind every match, as football often teaches. We will try in every way to be able to follow our path.”

Inter Milan Vice-President Opens On The UCL Challenge Against Atletico Madrid & Diego Simeone

Zanetti also praised the Champions League’s new format which will be applied starting next season.

“With this innovative format, competitiveness will certainly increase and all participants will have great chances to move forward.

“The Champions League is already a very fascinating event in itself and this innovation will make it even more attractive.”