The Diego Simeone Impact at Atlético Madrid

Diego Simeone Impact

Amazon.com: 25% or more off clearance soccer equipment - Click here to view current selection.

Greg Lea from These Football Times examines the Diego Simeone impact at Atlético Madrid. Appointed in January 2011 with the club hovering just above the relegation zone, Simeone has taken the effective counter-attacking team to another level in just a few years.

IT IS DIFFICULT TO OVERSTATE THE EXTENT OF DIEGO SIMEONE’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS as manager of Atlético Madrid. When the Argentine replaced Gregorio Manzano in the dugout of the Vicente Calderon stadium in December 2011, Los Rojiblancos appeared to be consigned to the upper-mid-table portion of La Liga for the foreseeable future.

 

Indeed, despite winning the Europa League and UEFA Super Cup a year before Simeone’s arrival, a pair of fourth place finishes in 2008 and 2009 were the height of Atleti’s domestic achievements in the previous decade. Moreover, the season before Simeone’s arrival, Atlético Madrid finished behind Valencia, Sevilla, Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao in seventh place, 38 points off champions Barcelona and just 15 above the relegation zone.

 

The fact that Atlético smashed the seemingly impregnable La Liga duopoly of Barcelona and Real Madrid by lifting the league title last term – just three years into Simeone’s reign – is nothing short of sensational. The man nicknamed Cholo had already secured the club’s tenth Copa del Rey and another Europa League and Super Cup in his first two campaigns, as well as reaching the 2014 Champions League final, but the Liga triumph was undoubtedly the pinnacle. After all, it is impossible to fluke your way to a league championship, and for Atlético to end up victorious after a 38-game season in spite of the chronic structural and financial disadvantages faced in relation to Barcelona and neighbours Real is something largely without precedent in the history of the game.

 

At just 45 and into his fourth year in Madrid, it is easy to forget that Simeone has managed five other clubs. His coaching career began in his native Argentina, where four seasons were spent divided between Racing Club, Estudiantes, River Plate and San Lorenzo. The former midfielder’s success was mixed: league titles with Estudiantes and River Plate were offset by a hugely disappointing stint at San Lorenzo, who finished seventh under Simeone’s guidance despite having topped the table the previous year.

 

South America may have contributed nine of the twenty World Cup winners since the competition began in 1930, but the continent remains someway behind Europe on the domestic front, and it was no surprise when Simeone decided to cross the Atlantic Ocean in 2011 to advance his managerial career.

 

South America may have contributed nine of the twenty World Cup winners since the competition began in 1930, but the continent remains someway behind Europe on the domestic front, and it was no surprise when Simeone decided to cross the Atlantic Ocean in 2011 to advance his managerial career.

 

 

In this article