During the 2018 FIFA World Cup after Argentina suffered an embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Croatia a voice-note went viral via social media platform WhatsApp, with Simeone making a rather remarkable statement.
"Messi is very good, but he's very good because he's accompanied by fantastic players [at Barça]," he told assistant coach Germán Burgos.
"If you had to choose between Messi and Ronaldo for an average team, who would you go for?"
However, speaking ahead of Atléti's ICC pre-season clash against Paris Saint-Germain on Monday, he sought to explain his remark.
"I'd always choose Messi [over Ronaldo], without a doubt," he said.
"When I said what I did about Messi and Ronaldo, I wasn't talking about who is the best player in the world.
"I was saying that in a team of average players, Ronaldo would probably be a better fit.
"But, when surrounded by top players, Messi is the best in the world."