Diego Simeone Profile
|Born||Apr 28, 1970|
|Birthplace||Buenos Aires, Argentina|
While Diego Simeone was already a decorated player in a high-level career for club and country, he has perhaps enjoyed an even more successful career as manager of Atletico Madrid after retirement.
Diego Simeone is an Argentinean soccer manager and former player. He is currently the manager of Atletico Madrid and was previously a player for the club, as well as Velez Sarsfield, Pisa, Sevilla, Inter Milan, Lazio, Racing Club, and the Argentina national team - earning the distinction of winning more than 100 caps for his country in his playing days.
Simeone has previously managed Racing Club, Estudiantes, River Plate, San Lorenzo and Catania. He has, however, been the manager of Atletico since 2011.
Simeone orchestrated Atletico's shock La Liga title victory in 2013/14, also leading them to the UEFA Champions League final that season and again two years later.
The Argentine has helped cement Atleti's place at the top table of European and world football, passing his 500th match in charge at the club with a remarkable 60% win ratio and consistently leading Atletico to the latter stages of the Champions League season after season.
Diego Simeone and Atletico Madrid
Simeone played for Atletico Madrid in two separate spells, from 1994-1997 and again from 2003-2005. He won the La Liga title with them in 1995/96.
In his first spell as a player at the club, the midfielder scored 27 goals in 126 matches. In his second, he scored three in 47.
On 23 December 2011, Simeone took over as manager of Los Rojiblancos. He replaced Gregorio Manzano, who had been relieved of his duties after only six months in charge. Simeone, 41 years old at the time of his appointment, was tasked with turning around the fortunes of a team which sat 10th in La Liga.
In the 2011/12 season, Simeone steered them to fifth place in La Liga and the UEFA Europa League trophy.
Atletico thrashed Chelsea 4-1 in the 2012 UEFA Super Cup with Radamel Falcao smashing in a hat-trick of goals. Atletico also won the 2012/13 Copa del Rey and finished third in La Liga that season.
In 2013/14, despite Falcao's transfer to AS Monaco, Atletico won La Liga with Diego Costa starring upfront. David Villa, who had been signed from Barcelona, also played a key role.
Atleti were agonisingly close to winning the UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid, having scored the opening goal through Diego Godin, but after a late equaliser from Los Blancos took the match to extra time, Atletico capitulated and Real Madrid won 4-1.
Atletico won the 2014 Supercopa de Espana and were beaten in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League final on penalties, again by Real Madrid. Yannick Carrasco scored Atletico's goal in a 1-1 draw prior to the shootout.
In 2017, Atletico Madrid moved from the Vicente Calderon into a new stadium, the Wanda Metropolitano. They won the UEFA Europa League once again in 2017/18.
Atletico finished second in La Liga behind Barcelona in 2018/19. However, they suffered a major blow when star striker Antoine Griezmann signed for Barcelona after that campaign.
Atleti finished third in La Liga in 2019/20, once again qualifying for the UEFA Champions League in a difficult season which was put on hold for months due to COVID-19's brutal effect on Spain in early 2020.
The 2020/21 season got off to a tremendous start following the acquisition of Luis Suarez from Barcelona as Atletico Madrid headed into 2021 top of the La Liga table. Simeone helped Atletico win their 11th La Liga title, seven years after they had last won the title. His side finished on 86 points, two more than second placed and city rivals Real Madrid.
Atletico have consistently adapted to trying circumstances throughout Simeone's reign as head coach. He took charge during a time when Barcelona and Real Madrid were the dominant forces not only in Spain, but in Europe, and he toppled them.
Following the exits of Falcao to Monaco, Costa and Thibaut Courtois to Chelsea, Griezmann to Barcelona and Thomas Partey to Arsenal, Simeone and Atletico Madrid have consistently been able to adapt.
Key signings made by Simeone at Atletico Madrid apart from Suarez, Griezmann and Villa have also included the likes of Jan Oblak, Joao Felix and Kieran Trippier.
After a successful 2020/21 campaign, Simeone was rewarded with an extension to his deal, meaning he will remain in charge until June 2024. His backroom staff will also be staying at Atletico. Simeone is the most successful coach in the club's history with eight trophies and over 300 wins.
Simeone's club career
Simeone began his club career with Velez Sarsfield in Liniers, Buenos Aires. He then moved to Pisa in Italy's Serie A in 1990.
Following Pisa's relegation and failure to get back up to Serie A in the subsequent season, Simeone was sold to Sevilla. After two seasons, he was sold to Atletico Madrid, where he won La Liga and the Copa del Rey in 1995/96.
In 1997, Simeone signed for Inter Milan and won the UEFA Cup in a team spearheaded by Brazil great Ronaldo.
Simeone signed for Lazio in 1999 and won the Serie A and Coppa Italia double in 1999/2000.
In 2003, he moved back to Atletico Madrid, and after two years back with them, he moved to Argentina's Racing Club in 2005 and finished his career there.
His international career
Simeone made his debut for the Argentina national team in 1988 and amassed 106 caps for the Albiceleste.
In 1991, Simeone and Argentina won the Copa America. They followed that up with a further triumph in the tournament in 1993, beating Mexico 2-1 thanks to two goals from Gabriel Batistuta with Simeone playing the full match in midfield.
Simeone represented Argentina at the 1994 World Cup and then was part of the team which won silver at the 1996 Olympics.
At the 1998 World Cup, David Beckham was infamously sent off for kicking Simeone in retaliation for a foul. Argentina beat England on penalties in that round of 16 match after a 2-2 draw but were beaten 2-1 by the Netherlands in the quarter-finals.
In 2002, Simeone and Argentina were eliminated from the group stage of the World Cup and Beckham got his revenge as he converted a penalty in England's 1-0 victory over Argentina.
Simeone was, at one point, the most capped Argentina player of all time, having surpassed Diego Maradona. He admitted that surpassing Maradona's record was embarrassing for him. However, he later lost the record as Roberto Ayala, Javier Mascherano, Javier Zanetti and Lionel Messi surpassed his tally of 106 caps.
Simeone's sons, Giovanni and Gianluca, are currently professional footballers. His third son, Giuliano, has been spotted serving as a ball boy for Atletico Madrid.
Simeone tested positive for COVID-19 on September 12, 2020, but was able to recover.
Simeone reportedly became the highest paid manager in world soccer when he signed a contract extension at Atletico Madrid and reportedly earns a gross annual salary of approximately €42million, as per ESPN.
During the COVID-19 crisis in early 2020, Simeone and his players temporarily agreed to a 70% pay cut to alleviate financial pressure on the club and preserve the livelihoods of club staff.