With his latest act of madness on the touchline causing himself to receive an eight match ban, I want to see if the man who guided Atletico Madrid to their first La Liga title in 18 seasons is worth all the trouble that comes with the tactical genius.
Simeone took over at Atletico from Gregorio Manzano, after the teams defeat in the Copa del Rey to minos Albacete Balompie. In his first season as manager they won the UEFA Europa League final in Bucharest, defeating fellow Spaniards Athletic Bilbao in the final 3-0.
At the start of the new season, many round Europe, especially England, had become more aware of this dangerous Atletico side as they disposed of Chelsea in the UEFA super cup 4-1. With Falcao scoring all four, suddenly Simeone was becoming known around the world.
Before this, most people remember him for one moment in the 1998 world cup, playing for Argentina against England. Simeone exaggerated a retaliation kick from a young David Beckham. Beckham was then sent off, and so were England’s hopes of proceeding into the next round of the competition. Simeone later admitted that he over-reacted in order to get Beckham sent off. An early sign of the mischievous man inside that slicked back exterior.
Fast forward to the 2012/13 season, where Simeone guided Atletico Madrid to their highest league position since they won the title in 1995/96, finishing third behind Real and Barcelona. An enormous achievement for the club, and one which propelled them into the 2013/2014 season. Simeone’s passion and winning mentality as a player has carried through to his managerial role, which has meant the Atletico team of present are hardworking and tactically perfect, enabling them to break the top two reign of Barca and Real for the first time since Valencia did so in the 2003/04 season.
The 13/14 season was a magnificent one for Atletico. They started off the campaign with an 8 match winning streak to leave them at the top of the La-Liga table going into Christmas. He also managed to record a 1-0 away win at the Bernabeu, some feet considering the class of Real Madrid’s new attacking line including world record signing Gareth Bale. Simeone continued to lead his team at the top, and by the time the last game came around on the 17th of May, Atletico just needed a point against league rivals Barcelona to clinch the title. A Diego Godin header in the 48th minute ensured Simeone’s men won the title for the first time in 18 years.
Alongside the incredible league effort, Atletico were also impressing in the Champions League. They managed to fend off Barcelona and Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea to reach the final in Lisbon. They met their arch-rivals Real Mardid in the final, who were determined to overcome Simeone’s men after they had failed to do so in a disappointing league campaign. Atletico led for most of the game until a dramatic late equaliser forced the match into extra time.
Real Madrid just had too much depth within their squad and goals from Bale (110”), Marcelo (118”) and then Ronaldo (pen 120”) secured Real’s emphatic victory 4-1. A sour end to Atletico’s season especially when they saw Simeone charge onto the pitch to confront Raphael Varane, who had just kicked the ball in Simeone’s direction after Real’s final goal. This anger caused him to be sent to the stands, a sight that no football fan wants to see after such an enthralling game.
Unfortunately for Simeone, the antics are back for the 2014/15 season. He guided Atletico to the Spanish Super Cup title in a two legged affair which saw a replay off the Champions League final. But once again Simeone was in trouble for, this time, patting the linesman on the head after disagreeing with a decision. This has seen him receive an eight match touchline ban, which could affect Atletico’s chances of retaining the title.
Diego Simeone has worked wonders with an Atletico Madrid side that were in a desperate place. They have one many trophies under his leadership but have also witnessed some crazy managerial moments. However, these comedy highlights are what make Simeone such a loveable character as it shows his passion for the game, something every fan can relate to.