Atletico Madrid are in a precarious position with manager Diego Simeone. Despite the Club’s president recently revealing that the Argentinian coach can remain in charge for as long as he’d like, stale performances and a lack of results have led to Atletico fans wondering if it is time the Club to move on from Diego Simeone.
Atletico Madrid were sent to the bottom of Group B of the UEFA Champions League after a 2-0 loss away to Belgian side Club Brugge on Tuesday night. The Spanish side still have a strong chance of progressing to the Round of 16, but Atletico were expected to comfortably top the group given their undoubted pedigree as well as having a better squad and manager than the other teams.
Los Colchoneros currently sit 5th in La Liga after a shaky start, six points behind leaders Barcelona. The Club won La Liga in 2021 and it was expected that Atletico would kick on from that triumph and potentially dominate Spain for a few years, particularly since Barcelona and Real Madrid were going through transitional periods with new managers. But their title defence faltered the following season, finishing 15 points behind local rivals and champions Real Madrid.
Simeone has been in charge of Atletico since 2011 and has since become synonymous with the Club. The Argentinian led his side to two La Liga titles, the UEFA Europa League twice, and was also runner-up in the UEFA Champions League on two occasions.
Simeone’s current contract, which makes him the highest paid coach in world football, expires in 2024. However, Atletico president Enrique Cerezo recently revealed that Simeone is welcome to remain in charge at the Wanda Metropolitano for as long as he pleases.
“A lot of things are being talked about, but Simeone is our coach and he will be at Atletico for as long as he wants,” claimed the president at an event (quotes via 90min).
“He has given us a lot and we all have to support the decisions that he considers to be the best.”
However, given the frustrations of the fans who seem to have grown bored with Simeone’s style of football, this may not be what all supporters wanted to hear.
Simeone himself may opt to walk away from the Wanda after cutting an increasingly frustrated figure after each game. One of his most trusted players, Antoine Griezmann, is at the club on a loan deal that involves strange financial stipulations that result in Simeone having to play him according to what suits Atletico financially. The situation is bound to frustrate the coach, who clearly trusts Griezmann as he started the Frenchman in Tuesday night’s crucial game against Club Brugge.
Furthermore, record signing Joao Felix is yet to truly live up to his potential and price-tag following his £113million transfer from Benfica in 2019. The Portuguese wonderkid was the hottest property in Europe around the time of his move after scoring 20 goals and providing 11 assists in 43 appearances across all competitions in 2018/2019.
Many fans claim that Simeone’s system is not suited to get the best out of Felix, who’s only amassed 29 goals and 18 assists in 121 games in the red and white of Atletico.
Given that Felix is still only 23-years-old and possesses massive potential, the Atletico board may be faced with a decision between sticking with their greatest ever manager, or changing the style of play by bringing in a new coach to get the best of out the Club’s biggest ever investment.