On Saturday, December 23, 2011, Atlético closed the signing of the Argentine coach as coach after a call to Buenos Aires from Caminero. A decade later the ‘Cholo’ has changed the life of the Madrid club.
On Thursday, December 21, 2011, the ‘cell phone’ rang Simeone at his house in Buenos Aires: “Hello ‘Cholo’, I’m ‘Cami'”. On the other end of the phone came the voice of Jose Luis Perez Caminero, athletic sports director at the time. A few hours before, the Argentine had resigned as Racing coach, and shortly after, specifically on Saturday 23, Atlético presented him with a formal offer, instantly closing his signing as a mattress manager. ‘Cholo’ landed in Madrid on Monday 25 to be presented on Tuesday in a crowded VIP room at the Calderón where he left a premonitory phrase: “I return home and I hope it will be for many years.” Now Atlético celebrates a decade living “game by game”.
These are uncomfortable times for the coach, who sees how Real Madrid has distanced itself in the head when the first round has not yet closed. The ‘Cholo’ is choking on the management of what is described by many as “the best squad in the history of Atlético.” A collection of offensive talent in which more ‘Soldiers of Simeone’ are missing. Players with a hard leg and a Stakhanovistic profile like Gabi, Godín, Saúl, Juanfran The Thiago that made up Atlético’s soccer identity for the last decade.
Debut in Malaga
Simeone He made his debut as an athletic coach on January 7, 2012 against Málaga, taking the team tenth, to leave it fifth and win the Europa League. He won 19 of the 31 games in his first season on the mattress bench, including all those in Europe. He arrived at La Rosaleda with a depressed team that added 22 points out of 48 possible, and closer to relegation than Europe. Malaga’s draw was followed by three wins in a row and a six-match winless streak.
Today there is not a player left in the club of that first eleven: Courtois, Perea, Godín, Domínguez, Filipe, Tiago, Juanfran, Gabi, Diego, Salvio and Falcao. Jumping to the field Adrián and Arda in the second part. In front there was a Malaga with packaging with contrasting footballers such as Toulalan, Cazorla, Bounanotte, Isco, Juanmi, Van Nistelrooy or Doubt. That tie marked the first day of the new athletic life, which since then has not negotiated the effort again.
Javier Irureta he knows exactly what it takes to stay on the same bench for many years. He led the Super Dépor for seven consecutive seasons, which he led the highest. The Basque, also a benchmark in the athletic house as a player, is clear that “Simeone It has changed the lives of the athletic people for the better. He arrived at an erratic stage at the club, with continuous changes on the bench, and has managed to stabilize the team by making him compete for all the titles. That has a lot of merit. ”
For ‘Jabo’ the key to his success is “that he is always on his face. He has earned the respect of the dressing room, the trust of the offices and the affection of the stands. And that is not easy. He is a coach who believes in what he does and has been able to reinvent himself over the years. If I had to sum up this decade in one word, it would be trust. Everyone has confidence in him and in his decisions. ‘Cholo’ has managed to win it over and that is something very difficult. “
“He has earned the respect of the dressing room, the trust of the offices and the affection of the stands,” says Javier Irureta
Simeone it is still far from the 14 seasons that it passed uninterruptedly Miguel Munoz the bench of Real Madrid, but the ‘Cholo’ is already considered, without a doubt, the best coach in the history of Atlético after reaping two Leagues, a Copa del Rey, a Spanish Super Cup, two Europa League and two European Super Cups.
However, the true achievement of the Argentine has been to banish the mediocrity that settled in the club, scaring away the ghost of ‘El Pupas’, that grotesque and resigned figure that the entity assumed for decades wandering sportingly and financially aimlessly. Today Atlético is a competitive team with one of the most complete squads in the League and a feared rival in Europe, where ‘Cholo’ has led them to play two Champions League finals.
Guardiola and Cruyff
For the musician Pancho varona, guilty of the red and white love of Joaquin Sabina, “Simeone is the Guardiola of Atlético just like Luis Aragonés is ours Cruyff. Said with all the intention and distance in the world. “Varona, an athletic militant, thanks Cholo” for putting us back on the map because we were in purgatory. We inhabited swampy lands like the Intertoto or UEFA and now the aristocracy in the Champions League. That’s why when I see that people complain being the current champions, it surprises me a lot “. Pancho He ends by stating that “Simeone is like Calamaro, that Argentine alive and bastard whom one day you love and the next you want to kill. Cholo is ‘rock’n’roll’, but not Joaquín (Sabina) or Leiva, is that of Calamaro or Los Rodríguez. El Cholo has made us deeply happy. ”
“It’s like Calamaro, whom one day you love and the next you want to kill,” says musician Pancho Varona
Beyond his sporting achievements, Simeone he will leave a legacy in Atlético and in football. His particular soccer philosophy, El ‘Cholismo’, whose first commandment, the “match by match”, is the mantra of many athletic (and non-athletic). But, above all, as he recalled the day he celebrated his first League conquered at the Camp Nou, Simeone leaves a hopeful vital teaching to hold on to in difficult times like the ones we live in: “If you believe and if you work, you can” .