There’s no question that Diego Simeone is the best thing to ever happen to Atletico Madrid. The Argentine’s appointment in December of 2011 ushered in the club’s most successful spell in the modern era. That Simeone has been able to accomplish as much during the height of Lionel Messi’s powers at Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo’s at Real Madrid only adds to his legend.
But Simeone’s contract was set to expire at the end of this season, and he’d been heavily linked with Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, Chelsea and Inter Milan over the past few months. However, on Tuesday, Atletico announced that the 47-year-old had extended his contract for two further seasons, putting him in control until June of 2020.
Diego Pablo @Simeone renews for two seasons!https://t.co/gQ9pMtF4lC#OleOleOle pic.twitter.com/un3d75YqYn— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) September 5, 2017
This season marks the beginning of a new era for the club as they move into the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium with a capacity approaching 70,000. This summer, the club also reached agreements for the contract extensions of Antoine Griezmann, Saul, Fernando Torres and signed Vitolo on a five-year contract, although he won’t arrive until January because of FIFA sanctions.
The continuity of manager and players at Atletico is remarkable — Simeone is the longest-serving active coach in La Liga, and he trails only Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger with regards to all of Europe.
No side better models the intensity, commitment and battling spirit of their coach than Atleti, and the club’s ability to out-run and out-tackle opponents has been a constant since Simeone took over.
Atletico Madrid: Have made more tackles (5051) than any other La Liga side since Diego Simeone took over in December 2011 pic.twitter.com/qnpjqrgbmL— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) September 5, 2017
After two heartbreaking Champions League final defeats, both at the hands of derby rivals Real (2014, 2016), the obvious goal for Simeone and his squad is to finally land the world’s biggest club prize. They’ll first need to navigate a group containing Chelsea, Roma and Qarabag if they’re to realize that dream this season.