The last time Aletico Madrid won La Liga Diego Simeone took the field to captain his side to glory, now on the other side of the locker room, Simeone has led to charge to a rejuvenated Atletico MAdrid side. Atletico has always been known for its long list of talented attackers, Forlan, Falcao Aguero, but they have also been known for having a flimsy defense. Now, the defense that has been criticized a lot over the years has been made a brick wall by Simeone. The change in the attitude of Madrid’s players have been sparked by Simeone’s passion. For the past decade, Atletico has been the second best team in Madrid, now Atletico is a force to be reckoned with throughout Europe.
Diego Simeone is only 43, yet already the tough Argentinian is demonstrating a trait that is only seen in the best of managers, the likes of Guardiola, Ferguson and Mourinho.
Since joining Atletico Madrid as coach in December 2011, Simeone has transformed a suffering, mid-table club into one with a killer instinct. When ‘El Cholo’ was appointed, Atleti were in dire straits: without a domestic trophy since 1996, going through 4 managers in 10 years and each player accepting defeat. Look at Atletico now, the mindset has completely changed. In less than two years, the Argentinian has reversed the defeatist streak, winning the Europa League, UEFA Super Cup and Copa del Rey in the process. This season, Atleti have won 11 of 12 league games and top their Champions League group with a 100% win record. Simeone has turned them into the epitome of winners.
The players are behind him a 100%. His inspirational, never die attitude has been embraced by the team. “We are not a team of individuals,” midfielder Arda Turan said. “We are a collective group of hard working players who always want the best for the team. We battle for every ball during every minute of each match and you can see even in training matches that nobody wants to lose. We have a great team spirit, like a family.” “Every match is a final for us,” enthuses Turan. “We take every game as it comes and approach it with the mentality of a final and see what happens. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have big ambitions, I can assure you we do.” Arda Turan is an example of a player who has become a revelation of who he was, since arriving under Simeone. Another example is Diego Costa, who with the departure of Falcao has been forced to take the reigns as goalscorer and he has truly delivered. Diego is currently third in the Golden Boot race scoring a total of 17 goals this year, he is the most prolific striker in Europe’s top flight, after the likes of Messi and Ronaldo.
Simeone has brought glory to the Atleti faithful, but will a La Liga title come anytime soon? Does he have a chance in putting his name amongst the manager greats? In the current form Atletico is in, the sky is there limit.