The Argentine Diego Simeone is “crazy”, to say the least, but in the positive sense of the word, given the passion, enthusiasm and enthusiasm that define the personality of the coach, who celebrates Thursday the 10th anniversary of his leadership at Atletico Madrid. Atletico Madrid has fasted for the Spanish League title since 1996, when it was crowned by the presence of Simeone in its ranks as a player, content with watching the two giants Barcelona and Real Madrid monopolize the podium.
Diego returned to the team that defended his colors in two phases from 1994 to 1997 and then from 2003 to 2005, but this time as a coach by signing him in December 2011 in the hope that he would transfer his enthusiasm, dash and even madness to the players of “Los Rojiblancos”.
Quick success (2011-2013)
When the Argentine took over the leadership of Atlético, the team was in ninth place in the league and had just been eliminated from the local cup competition by Albacete, but he finished the season crowned with the European League title “European League” at the expense of the local rival Athletic Bilbao and his Argentine coach also Marcelo Bielsa (3 -zero).
Led by players such as Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, Uruguayan Diego Godin, Turkish Arda Turan, Koke (still with the team) and Colombian Radamel Falcao, Atletico finished the league in a positive way after making their way to fifth place.
The capital club began the following season, Simeone’s first full coach of the team, by winning the European Super Cup at the expense of Chelsea, the champion of the Champions League, by sweeping it 4-1 thanks to a hat-trick from Falcao, and then ending it by obtaining a qualifying position to the European Champions League and winning the Spanish Cup at the expense of its arch-neighbour, Real Madrid. (2-1 ot.). Simeone was rewarded for his efforts by extending his contract with the club for an additional four seasons.
Just around the corner from the top of Europe
Falcao left for Monaco and David Villa came, while Simeone’s enthusiasm and ambition remained motivated towards more success. In 2013, Atlético had the best league start in its history after winning the first eight matches, and continued its good results until eventually succeeded in winning the league title for the first time since 1996 thanks to a draw in the last stage against Barcelona with Godin’s header.
Not only did Atletico shine locally, but they also reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since the 1996-1997 season, when Simeone was a player in their ranks.
After getting rid of giant teams such as AC Milan, Barcelona and Chelsea, Atletico reached the final for the first time since 1974. But the end was dramatic, as Los Rojiblancos lost to their arch-neighbor 1-4 after extending a match during which they advanced until the third minute of lost time. , before Sergio Ramos snatched a tie for the Royal Club and dragged the two teams into two extra games.
In the summer of 2014, Atlético decided to change, bringing French striker Antoine Griezmann and Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak. Simeone was right in his choice, as Griezmann excelled under the Argentine. In 2015-2016, after a season to adapt to Atletico’s style, Griezmann played a decisive role in leading Atletico to the Champions League final again and against Real again. And the heartbreak was repeated, as Atlético lost the final on penalties, after a 1-1 draw in the original and extra time.
Among the Giants (2016-2019)
In the 2016-2017 season, Atlético suffered a decline in its performance and remained faltering behind the two giants Real and Barcelona, while its continental campaign ended this time in the Champions League semi-finals at the hands of… Real again. But what happened did not diminish the importance of Simeone among his peers, and he is now seen as one of the most prominent coaches of the old continent and the world. With a closed style that relies mainly on defense but with the skill needed to deal with the most difficult scenarios, Simeone deserved to extend his contract until 2020.
In the fall of 2017, Atlético experienced a failure in the Champions League after leaving the competition from the group stage, but this failure opened the door for it to win the European League “Europe League” for the second time, led by the Argentine, at the expense of French Marseille.
In the summer of 2018, thanks to winning the European Super Cup at the expense of Real Madrid and its French coach Zinedine Zidane, Simeone became the coach with the most titles in the history of Atletico against Luis Aragones. But the capital club came out of that season empty-handed in terms of titles.
Changes and a second league title (2019-present)
The summer of 2019 was full of changes in the ranks of Atletico with the departure of Godin, Juanfran, the French brothers Theo, Lucas Hernandez and Griezmann, who left for Barcelona and then returned to Simeone’s team in the summer of 2021. On the other hand, Atletico signed Joao Felix, who became the most expensive deal in the club’s history after He paid 120 million euros to sign him from Benfica.
Simeone, in turn, extended his contract with the club until 2022, and led the team to the Champions League final price for the sixth time since his arrival, at a time when “Los Rojiblancos” did not succeed in reaching this stage only 7 times during the 60 years before the Argentine era. In conjunction with the outbreak of the Corona virus and the negative impact it had on clubs in Europe as a whole, Simeone decided to modify his playing style in order to give his attacking power the opportunity to express its potential.
This paid off, as Simeone managed to lead the team to the Spanish League title last season, ahead of rivals Real and Barcelona, respectively. It does not seem that Atletico is able this season to hold on to the “La Liga” title, as it ends 2021 and is 17 points behind the leaders Real after falling in the last four stages, but it can still dream of a first title in the Champions League after reaching the final price, where it will face With Manchester United.
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