MADRID – Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone said on Friday that the real motive behind his contract renewal with the Spanish club was his players.
The 48-year-old Simeone, who took the helm of the Spanish club in Dec. 2011, had extended his contract on Thursday until 2022.
“I have renewed my contract because of the players we have. We can improve, we can carry on competing and fighting and that makes me want to compete as well,” Simeone said in a press conference after the first team’s final training session on the eve of Atletico’s away La Liga clash against Rayo Vallecano.
“I can only give the best of myself and thank the players, because they have made this work for the last seven years,” the Argentine coach added.
Simeone said that Rayo Vallecano has increased its toughness; however, the coach assured fans that Atletico would do whatever it takes to win Saturday’s clash.
“They (Rayo Vallecano) work very well as a team and they become even stronger at their stadium,” said the coach from Buenos Aires.
“It is going to be a tough game and we will have to take it in the direction we want it to go,” Simeone stressed.
Under Simeone, who has now extended his contract for a fourth time, the team has had the most successful era in its storied history. As such, Simeone has now become Atleti’s greatest coach, in many ways surpassing the late Luis Aragones, who guided the team to six titles.
Simeone’s Atletico squads have won the following: the 2013-14 La Liga; the 2012-13 Copa del Rey; two Europa League titles (2011-12 and 2017-18); two UEFA Super Cups in 2012 and 2018 and a Spanish Super Cup in 2014.
During his tenure, Atletico has played a total of 412 competitive matches, with a balance of 252 wins, 93 draws and 67 defeats, scoring 702 goals and conceding a mere 297.
“Me and the rest of the coaches aspire to keep growing and to give the players the tools to keep competing in the best way. That is the challenge we have ahead of us,” the coach emphasized.
Atletico is presently in third place in the La Liga, one point back from second-placed Real Madrid and seven points behind leader Barcelona.