While the race between Cristiano, Messi and Neuer goes on for the Ballon d’Or, Diego Simeone is facing off against Joachim Loew and Carlo Ancelotti at the same event for the 2014 FIFA Coach of the Year award.
The Argentine led an Atlético de Madrid, with a smaller wage budget than Queen Park Rangers, to the finals of the Champions League, Copa del Rey semifinals (after eliminating teams like Athletic Club de Bilbao and Valencia) and winning La Liga.
Simeone, with the guidance of his coaching staff, conquered stadium after stadium until he could conquer no more. The final stadium was a fortress, one that is nearly impossible to conquer, the Camp Nou. The ex-Atlético-turned-coach however managed to conquer the Camp Nou and the Liga title at the same time. Atlético did not lose once against the other teams in the top four: Barcelona, Real Madrid and Athletic Club.
In the Champions League, Atlético topped their group and eliminated Milan, Barcelona and Chelsea until the dream ended after losing the final to Real Madrid.
Ancelotti too did an incredible job with Real Madrid in his first season in charge for Real Madrid after winning the Copa del Rey against FC Barcelona and claiming the Champions League in extra time against Atlético.
His team’s league form, however, was quite disappointing. Ancelotti’s side had difficulties defeating the top teams in the league. He failed to best Atlético and Barcelona and also lost once to Athletic Club. Out of the top three in Spain last season, his Madrid had the worst record against the top sides.
Loew is the coach with the weakest argument as to why he should win the Ballon d’Or. He may have won the most prestigious trophy of them all, the World Cup, but the tournament only lasted two months and since then his team has been disappointing in the EURO qualification round.
The squad at his disposal was one of the best ever and Germany was widely seen as one of the favourites to win the cup.
Also, Loew seemed like a coach who didn’t have a solid game plan. He seemed to copy what Guardiola did with Bayern Munich by moving Lahm to the midfield and playing with three at the back at times. Loew wanted Germany to play like Bayern, but at times it seemed too forced and Germany were underwhelming in many matches.
Algeria, for instance, was very close to knocking out the champions and Neuer was forced to save the team with an array of stops. It has to be said though that winning the World Cup is not an easy feat and Joachim Loew definitely deserves his fair share of plaudits for winning the cup for Germany.
All three coaches have arguments as to why they should walk always with the Ballon d’Or; however, Diego Pablo Simeone achieved the impossible – or what was thought of as impossible.
At the beginning of the season, you could win 99 euros for every one-euro bet on Atlético winning the league. The press kept spouting the same old “el Atleti caerá” – Atleti will fall – but Atleti never did fall.
Atleti, thanks to Simeone, won La Liga in incredible fashion, a league title that hadn’t been won by a team other than Real Madrid and Barcelona in 10 years.
Simeone won the league as a player with Atlético back in 1996 and since then Atlético hadn’t won a league title.
Simeone built a foundation and it prospered under his philosophy of game by game, every match a final.
“Si se cree y se trabaja se puede,” If you believe and you work for it, it’s possible.
Live coverage of the event will be broadcast on FIFA.com starting at 6pm CET this evening.