Simeone: “I see myself at Atlético for many years”

The Rojiblanco coach visited COPE studios in Madrid for an interview late Monday night

'El Cholo' on the mic at COPE headquarters  (cope.es)

'El Cholo' on the mic at COPE headquarters
(cope.es)

Atlético boss Diego Simeone paid a visit to COPE’s studios Monday evening, appearing on the Spanish radio station’s late night ‘El Partido de las 12’ programme.

‘El Cholo’ fielded questions on a number of topics, modestly responding to inquiries regarding the mystique behind the ‘Cholo effect’, his objectives for Atleti this season, and his thoughts on other current Rojiblanco affairs.

Below is an excerpt of the interview, the full transcript and audio of which can be found on COPE’s website here.

“Do you feel like the fashionable [or, in style] coach in Spain?”
We are before an experience that requires a lot of commitment and responsibility. These are situations that you journalists like; framing us in a certain way or other.

On the so-called “Cholo effect”
I don’t dwell on that stuff. I know our objective is to improve and grow. We began our campaign from the back-end and today, we are in a much better position, without forgetting to take it game-by-game and with hard work, you’ll find what you [set yourself out for].

“Is this the most important week since your arrival?”
It depends on how you look at it. When I arrived, we were looking at everything and we said “we always play away”. Plus, they were hard games: Málaga, Rome [Lazio], Barcelona…but names don’t change me. The points that you can take from Barça have the same value as those from Sporting.

On Diego’s injury
His injury hurts me more than the two points lost in Gijón, but we have alternative options available.

“Is Champions League qualification the goal?”
Right now [our objective] is Lazio. We have to stress the competition we are taking part in. In order to get somewhere, you must live things day-by-day.

On abrupt departure from former job at Racing de Avellaneda in Argentina
Atlético called me and I did nothing more than travel to take on this challenge.

“Are you living a dream come true?”
It’s a reality. When I left Atlético I knew there was a possibility for me to return. But as a football player, I already gave all that I had to give […] I always had a feeling that it would turn out this way. When one searches, one finds.

“What is the magic?”
There’s an idea, a style, and the most important thing: that the players understand and want to follow you. Luckily, we have people that have desire. In this case, we understand each other. It was a mutual feeling. The coaches marked the path and the players are the ones that are achieving.

“With Manzano, the players didn’t believe. Now, the players say ‘Cholo’ ignites them.”
The most difficult thing in football is to have a style. Real Madrid and Barcelona play with Ferraris, we have another car. Words are unnecessary, what matters are actions and what the players show. There’s always some trait of the coach in the players. What excites me most about coaching is the challenge of getting more from the players. I live thinking that I can get something better from each player.

“Do you have the third fastest car on the grid?”
I’ll tell you at the end. Let’s not put labels on it because the headlines will come out tomorrow (Simeone laughs). Atleti comes out of suffering, of saving themselves at the last minute, and with a strong group, with people that want to win, I can go anywhere.

On “creating one chance and scoring one goal”
It’s what I think about football. Football is winning. Then, we are given a bunch of stories. Playing well is the path to victory, but what is ‘playing well’? Defending good, making more passes? It’s the same story as always…mamma mía!

Would you ever coach Real Madrid?
No, it would be foolish. Plus, they better not call me! I am a Racing [Argentina] fan and I know I will never coach Independiente.

On whether or not he would discipline Arda, who was spotted out late Saturday night at a nightclub in Madrid and earlier, at a casino, despite having suffered an injury that same day that prevented him from travelling to Gijón
I don’t comment on such matters in public.

Rapid-fire question and answer session:

Will Real Madrid win the league?
Yes.

Do you understand Pep’s doubts about renewing?
I understand he is looking for another challenge elsewhere, to see if he is capable of doing the same thing somewhere else.

Do you see yourself at Atlético for many years?
Yes. I have, at the moment, one more year [on my contract].

Is Adrián due for a call-up to the Spanish national team?
I think that, if he continues to grow, a lot of beautiful things will happen for him.

Who is number one: Messi or Cristiano?
Messi, without a doubt. He will win his fourth Ballon d’Or.

What’s the problem with Cholo that he has 70 suits that are all the same?
[No problem], they’re all the same.

Why do you copy the way Guardiola dresses?
Guardiola began coaching after I did.

Do you have a release clause in case Argentina calls you?
No.


  • palc

    Why do you copy the way Guardiola dresses?
    “Guardiola began coaching after I did.”

    Haha!

  • Javi Lozoya

    I want to see him at Atletico for many years. He seems to have born to coach Atleti. Just like when he won the championship with Estudiantes. All the press where like; “He is a born manager”. And he really is. He is a genius, his coaching style fits like a glove to Atleti. He has done a great job so far, he committed the players to the club’s cause, recovered players who seemed to we’re not gonna excel like Tiago, Juanfran, Miranda, Gabi, even Mario Suarez. Just hope the board supports him and grant him more freedom and fulfill Simeone’s request in case he ask for signings for next season. Grande Cholo!

  • Davide

    palc//

    Haha! I know, comment of the year!

  • Urban

    I dont know, im not getting carried away. I was sceptical but he has surely suprised me, but still I will wait with my opinion until June, or maybe even septeber since I really want to see what transfers will we do in the summer.

    IMHO we need only to:

    1. buy Diego (most important)
    2. buy Javi Garcia from Benfica (if possible, maybe including Salvio into the deal), or some other holding CM,
    3. get DC22 back and fix him a passport (reportedly already viable)
    4 offload Assuncao, Perea, Fran, and prolly someone of Tiago/Gabi/Mario trio.
    5. Offload one keeper of trio TC/Joel/Asenjo

  • starvs

    Urban’s plan is solid. That team is a CL team for sure. Must buy Diego. Maybe add another quality versatile wing if Toto goes.

  • falcao
  • palc

    @falcao

    That site is not a reliable source. Stop reading there 😉

  • shlomgar

    @Urban
    I don’t know if D.Costa is the third striker I would like to see un Atletico, and at his age Perea is a good sub for the club.

    Simeone is the operator this club has neaded for years. The club would make money for a future Hollywood movie of the story of el Cholo.

  • Javi Lozoya

    I think Diego Costa is good enough as a third choice striker for Atleti. And I’m not saying this just because of his streak with Rayo. He seems to have improve in those three matches at Vallecas despite being out injured for over 6 months. I’ve seen some of his matches and he seems a different player, his movements are quite good, he knows how to play without the ball, his attitude is that of a player who’s willing to work on behalf of the team rather than individual success, he is in a good shape, he looks physically fit despite not playing a competitive match since he got injured. In fact, it seems that he never got injured, and the injury he suffered it’s very hard to overcome. The player either gets worse, better, or about just the same before the injury. Costa seems to have gotten better. You gotta give him a lot of credit for that. The only problem with Costa his obviously his lack of EU citizenship, but I guess that will be solved in the summer.
    About signing Javi Garcia I’m not so sure. It’s not even like Atleti is interested in him, and if it turns we are, then Benfica is gonna ask a lot of money. If I’m not mistaken he is represented by dear agent Jorge Mendes. And I don’t even think he is that good. He is just having a good season with Benfica but is not like he is a world class player, besides he is a madridista, in that case we should give our young players a chance rather than our rivals. I would prefer Ruben Perez over Garcia any day, he (Ruben Perez) is young, determined, and a canterano. He has been relegated to the bench at Getafe but he showed some good things with Depor last season, he is due to return this summer and I have faith Simeone is gonna count with him. Fer from the B team also deserves an opportunity with the first team. I’ve heard Simeone likes him. Saúl Ñíguez also deserves a chance with the first team.
    We could also sign a foreigner player like Yacob. He is young, with a bright future and wouldn’t be expensive. Simeone knows him well, and I have no doubt he could become a player like Simeone during his old glory days as an Atletico player.

  • ali_

    yeah, javi but u forgot one thing. what if diego costa wants more than be our 3rd forward? if he continues like this, i have no doubt that some mediocre teams gonna try to sign him.

  • Javi Lozoya

    I was thinking the same thing. Probably in case Costa is back, he is gonna want to be a regular starter rather than being a sub. In that case he is right. He is progressing at Rayo and it would be better for him staying one more season at Vallecas. He seems like a late bloomer. Like I said before, he is a natural goalscorer. His movements are quite good, he is not looking for individual success and I would like him back at Atleti, but I think he should rather stay at Rayo.

  • ratchet

    We have secured a 1-0 win. We didnt concede and we face besiktas in the next round. we should win that tie over 2-legs. Next up, Barcelona…