Diego Simeone insists his expensively assembled squad must perform on the pitch to earn comparisons with former Atletico Madrid sides.
Atletico has undergone a significant transformation since finishing 11 points behind La Liga champion Barcelona last season. Antoine Griezmann, Diego Godin, Filipe Luis, Lucas Hernandez and midfielder Rodri, Manchester City's new record signing, have all left the Wanda Metropolitano.
Among the replacements are Marcos Llorente, Kieran Trippier, Mario Hermoso and Joao Felix, who became the fourth most expensive signing in history when he arrived from Benfica for EUR 126 million.
The level of investment, which has brought eight new additions in total, has prompted conjecture about whether the squad could be the strongest assembled under Simeone. "It's not fair to talk about a team that is yet to start competing," Simeone said.
"We think about now, which is to improve in training, in matches, for each player to fulfil his function. When the season ends we will be able to say if this is the best squad or not. You don't win with names. You win with performance and with players who interpret what the team needs."
Another close-season signing, Hector Herrera, is back in his homeland of Mexico for Saturday's friendly against Atletico San Luis. The former Porto midfielder is "very excited" by the occasion but the thought of a league debut against Getafe on August 18 is providing the real motivation.
"I never imagined playing in La Liga," Herrera said. "It was always a dream to be able to reach La Liga, which is the best league in the world. You have to look for big challenges and [in La Liga] you are competing with the best."
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