Diego Simeone Should Remain With Atletico Madrid

Make no mistake about it, Diego ‘Cholo’ Simeone is the hottest property in management. What the Argentine has engineered at Atletico Madrid over the past three years is staggering and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by Europe’s bigger clubs.

Last summer, Manchester United inquired about Simeone’s availability before ultimately deciding to hire Dutch national team coach, Louis van Gaal.

This season, with Manchester City and Liverpool struggling during the early part of the Premier League campaign, the one name that kept being linked with a switch to England was Simeone’s.

Manuel Pellegrini and Manchester City’s early fortunes have turned for the better. But rumors still persist that club officials are biding their time until they can pluck Atletico Madrid’s manager away from the Spanish champions and place him at the head of their on-the-field operations.

They see Simeone as the individual who can lead their first team squad to domestic and European titles, while overseeing the development of Manchester City’s youth system at the club’s new 80-acre, £200 million training complex.

According to Sky Sports Spanish football expert Guillem Balague, Simeone wants to manage in England one day.

Balague has previously revealed that the 44-year-old Argentine has been taking English lessons and has even considered taking a one-year ‘sabbatical’ to New York (à la Pep Guardiola) while he prepares for a move to the UK.

The Spanish football expert recently backed down from those comments after learning that Simeone has guaranteed Atletico Madrid’s new loan-signee Fernando Torres that he would remain at the club past this season.

The problem is that Simeone’s desire to ply his trade in England will still be there.

But the Atletico Madrid manager needs to resist that temptation and remain at the club where he is engineering one of the greatest renaissances in football history.

In three years with Simeone at the helm, Los Colchoneros have won a Europa League title, the UEFA Super Cup, Spanish Supercopa, Copa del Rey and a La Liga title – while also finishing as Champions League runners-up last season.

Right now, Atletico Madrid are better than Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal when it comes to results and developing some of Europe’s most sought-after footballing talents.

Simeone has developed the spine of Atletico’s current side and his squad is made up of a list of talent who are being targeted by every major club in Europe.

Defenders Juanfran, Diego Godin and Miranda; midfielders Koke, Arda Turan, and Raul Garcia all resisted their own temptations and pledged their loyalty to the Spanish club.

Each one of these players would walk into a Premier League club’s starting eleven.

And while Atletico have seen players depart for big money transfers over the years, the club has now turned the corner and begun to sign players away from “bigger” European sides.

Forwards Antoine Griezmann and Mario Mandzukic were being targeted by a host of clubs this summer – including Liverpool and Arsenal. But the players resisted that lure and chose instead to be a part of Simeone’s renaissance in the Spanish capital.

And they won’t be the last.

Atletico are still miles behind Real Madrid and Barcelona when it comes to domestic and European titles. Under Simeone, Los Rojiblancos won their tenth La Liga title last season, but club has never won a European Cup/Champions League title.

Real Madrid have won 32 La Liga titles and have been crowned champions of Europe ten times; while Barcelona have won the league 22 times and have four European Cups/Champions League titles.

Simeone would have to do a lot of winning in order to knock Real Madrid and Barcelona “off their f**kin perch” (as Sir Alex Ferguson once said – referring to his desire to beat Liverpool).

But that’s the challenge, isn’t it?

Simeone has everything in place to challenge the Spanish giants for domestic and European titles from now until whatever time he decides to retire.

He has a loyal and passionate fan base, who sellout the 54,000+ seats at the Vicente Calderon match after match, whose devotion to the club blends perfectly with the work-rate of the players on the pitch.

And when the fans noise levels drop off just a little bit, Simeone is there on the touchline, waving and urging them to amp up the volume and push his players over the finish line.

All the while his team are doing everything they can to defend and score as a unit. Strikers playing defense and defenders scoring goals. That’s all part of what Simeone has fostered in Madrid.

The entire club has bought into the philosophy: “It doesn’t matter how it gets done – just find a way to win today.”

To be able to nurture and implement that “game by game” ideology has been a major achievement by Simeone. And for him to walk away from what he has started would a crime.

Imagine if Sir Alex Ferguson had decided to leave for Real Madrid and Barcelona?

The Scottish manager was tapped by both clubs at separate times during his career with Manchester United, but chose to remain at the club where he had created his own renaissance. When all was said and done, Ferguson led United to 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups, two Champions League titles; and numerous other domestic and European titles.

He accomplished all of that while fostering an understanding of the club’s history and demanding that his players stay true to its principles.

Simeone has an opportunity to do something similar at Atletico Madrid.

That would be a greater accomplishment than becoming the latest manager to leave everything he started for the perceived greener pastures of another European club.

Atletico Madrid is currently managing its debt, building a new 70,000-seat stadium, selling merchandise at a record pace and winning trophies. The club is poised to flourish in the coming years.

Simeone needs to resist the temptation to leave Atletico Madrid and focus on continuing the project he started in the Spanish capital three years ago.

When it’s all said and done, he could be another managerial legend.

Programming note: Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid will be shown LIVE on Sunday starting at 2:55pm on BeinSPORTS and DishWorld.

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One Response

  1. Atlético De Madrid Eeuu January 9, 2015

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