There are a number of things in football that seem inseparable. Lionel Messi and Barcelona. Arsenal and Highbury. Inter Milan and Pirelli. Diego Simeone and Atletico Madrid. The Argentine manager was known as a combative midfielder in his playing days, gaining prominence in Serie A with Lazio and Inter Milan, representing the Albiceleste over 100 times and playing in 3 World Cups in 1994, 1998, and 2002. However, just like Messi and Barcelona, Arsenal and Highbury, and Inter Milan and Pirelli, these seemingly inseparable partnerships ended, and the world moved on.
It might be time for Simeone to leave Atletico for another club, a move that will benefit both club and the manager. The often animated coach has transmitted his combative energy from his playing days onto the touchline, often whipping up the crowd to provide more noise that will motivate his players. He has worked wonders in Madrid to put Atletico Madrid in the same league as Barcelona and Real Madrid, but it’s perhaps time to move on.
Despite winning the league title last season, Atleti have struggled for form and consistency, as there has been an identity crisis with the team. Simeone is slowly starting to include other footballing ideas in his philosophy, mainly trying to be more modern with a lot of pressing and counter-pressing. This is in marked deviation from his previous team that had stalwart defenders, combative midfielders, as well as forwards who sucked all the happiness away from defenders with their constant harrying and pressing up top.
He has won 2 league titles, 2 Europa League titles, 1 Copa Del Rey, 2 UEFA Super Cups, and one Spanish Super Cup, added to his 2 Champions League Final placements, remarkable achievements for a team that has to deal with Real Madrid and Barcelona, the two biggest teams in Spain, if not the world. They are still in the Champions League and will face Manchester City in the quarterfinals, but the league is long gone. Simeone and Atleti look perfect for each other, but even happy marriages don’t always end in forever afters. The signs are always there.
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