Even a blind man could have seen this coming: on Friday Atlético Madrid officially announced the appointment of Diego Simeone as new coach of the club.
A day after Gregorio Manzano’s dismissal, the club announced a deal had been reached with the former player and Rojiblanco idol.
Simeone will be unveiled before the New Year. He arrives in Madrid on Monday and will have his presentation at the Vicente Calderón on Tuesday.
The Argentine will be handed a contract through the summer of 2013.
The appointment of “El Cholo” is a long awaited return. After two spells at the club as a player, the midfielder had announced he would one day take the reigns as coach of Atleti, and that day has now come.
Simeone became a fan idol during the 1995/96 season, when he was an integral part of the Atlético team that won the famous Doblete, scoring twelve goals in the triumphant campaign.
In the summer of ’97 he left for Italy to play for Internazionale and Lazio, but in 2003 he returned to Madrid to play 36 more games for the Colchoneros.
After retiring at Racing in 2006, he immediately took over as coach of the Argentinian club.
Only three months later he left for Estudiantes, who won their first league title in 23 years with Simeone at the helm.
In the following campaign he led River Plate, where he coached Radamel Falcao, to the Apertura title in 2008.
But from there it went downhill with Los Millonarios, and in November Simeone decided to resign.
Some months later Diego took up the job as head coach of San Lorenzo, where he spent twelve months, his longest spell as a manager at any club so far.
In January 2011 he was approached by Catania and after succesfully saving the Sicilians from relegation, he returned to Racing Club de Avellaneda.
Only six months later, Simeone abruptly quit the Primera División side. According to the manager it was because he felt a lack of confidence from the board room. But his instant move to Spain has left Racing supporters understandably upset.
Caminero:”Diego is the ideal coach for Atlético”
On Friday Atlético released a video of sporting director José Luis Pérez Caminero, who analysed the new head coach.
“Diego Simeone is the new trainer of Atlético Madrid for the rest of this season and the one after that,” he said.
“He is ideal because of his capabilities and because he knows the club”, said Caminero about his former teammate.
It will be interesting to see how the two will get along, as it has been rumoured that the relationship between the two is tense, to say the least.
Caminero continued: “I’m excited. I believe in this project. [Diego] knows what we want and what we need, and has the desire to come here. He’s made us realise that he’s the ideal coach.”
Caminero also commented on the man he fired after only six months in charge.
“Manzano wasn’t the only one to blame,” he said.
“The team wasn’t in a good state, the results weren’t as expected, so we decided that the best thing to do to change things around, was to change the coach.
“In the end the manager is responsible for the team. But the players and the Sporting Department are just as much to blame.”
He continued: “The players have a lot of the responsibility. They have to realise that they play at Atlético, a great club. They have to give 100 per cent during every training session and every game.”
Caminero then made clear that it still is the club’s goal to finish in the top four of la Liga.
“With the quality of these players, our objective is to be in the first four spots,” he said.
“Diego knows what it’s like to have the pressure to be in those places and we’re convinced we’ll achieve our goal.”