Agonised Atlético await Simeone’s next move
Those nightmares LLL spoke of on Friday for poor Diego Simeone are set to continue. And then some.
But rather than the image of a rising Sergio Ramos heading an equaliser into the back of a Lisbon net, it will be a muscle-flexing, gurning Cristiano Ronaldo in San Siro that gives Simeone the night sweats.
If a film is to be made of the rise of Jamie Vardy and Leicester City, then there is ample opportunity for a Zoolander-style comedy starring a Will Ferrell-strutting Ronaldo constantly bettering Ben Stiller’s growling, permanently furious Diego Simeone.
Ronaldo’s post-match revelation that he had a vision he would score the winning fifth penalty (presumably not after doing next to nothing for the two hours of the game) would have particularly grated for the Atlético coach.
The Portuguese poser was probably begging Zinedine Zidane not to be at number two or three – the real pressure points, but with considerably fewer opportunities for shirt-ripping limelight-sucking.
Barb vs Gump
Indeed, there was even a potentially barbed comment from Simeone after the match as to the job done by his Real Madrid counterpart, and it follows a number of suggestions from other La Liga bosses that the Frenchman is unbelievably lucky to have been plonked into the position that he is in now, like a footballing Forest Gump.
“He has the good fortune to coach one of the best three teams in the world,” said Simeone, whose soul was definitely racked with despair after a second Champions League final defeat in three years. And that’s why some post-match comments from the agonised Argentine should perhaps not be taken at face value.
Asked about his future at Atlético, the Rojiblanco ruler said that “I am planning to think about it. Nothing more,” causing panic amongst already distraught Atleti fans.
Simeone is Atlético. Without the Argentine, who has transformed the team from a mid-table rabble into a club that has been a hen’s hamster away from winning the Champions League two times in three years, it is hard to see Atlético Madrid ever being as successful.
It’s for this reason that the papers in Spain are predicting that Simeone will be returning to the club after a month-long holiday. One of the reasons for optimism at the Vicente Calderón is the simple fact that there aren’t any obvious places for the Argentine to go, unless a Pep Guardiola-style year off is on the cards.
The plum jobs in the Premier League are tied up, unless Arsenal are planning to suddenly give their supporters an early Christmas present; PSG seem too bling for Simeone, and also appear to be completely backing Laurent Blanc; while the only club in his beloved Serie A with the funds and stability to attract Simeone, Juventus, are doing just fine with Massimo Allegri. A move to manage Argentina – a poisoned chalice if ever there was one – feels too early in Simeone’s career.
That means the only viable option is to stay on at the Vicente Calderón with the reported promise from his bosses that he will have significant funds to spend on a top-class striker to make the club competitive both in La Liga and in Europe once again next season.
It is doubtful that Simeone saw a single second of Real Madrid’s understandably euphoric celebrations in the Santiago Bernabéu on Sunday night. But Atlético Madrid supporters will be hoping that their managerial mastermind, rather than planning to leave, was instead planning how such scenes won’t be repeated next year.