I have to admit my liking of Diego Simeone has grown since his early days at Atletico Madrid and the Argentinian boss just keeps helping his side to defy the odds against the big boys.
Wednesday night’s 2-0 win over European champions Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-final second leg was enough to see Atleti through to the semi-finals of the competition and see the European champions eliminated.
A propensity for upsetting the odds
During his playing career Diego Simeone liked to upset people. It was almost his trademark. He would do near anything to win, as he is a winner. He proved that during his time at Atletico when he would La Liga in 1996, which was a rare title triumph for the Rojiblancos in the modern era.
He has continued to upset the odds in his managerial career. Simeone has created something special at the Vicente Calderon. La Liga triumph in 2014 showed that he has the magic touch when creating a team.
City rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona should be dominating La Liga with big resources and high profiles, yet Atletico continue to defy the odds in fantastic fashion. This achievement is all down to the man at the helm.
Simeone lives and breathes football. Not only is he the boss at Atletico, but he is the team’s biggest cheerleader on the touchlines, waving his arms and urging the Calderon to create an atmosphere that the home can thrive on and the opponents dread.
Simeone has a terrible record against Barcelona, beating the Catalan giants just twice in 17 meetings, but both of those victories saw his team make it to the semi-finals of the Champions League. In the grand scheme of things they were not terrible games to win I suppose.
Possession no longer king
In recent history football teams and bosses have been obsessed with possession and keeping hold of the ball. Just like another area of life, it does not matter how big your possession ratio is, it is how well you use it, just ask Leicester City.
Simeone’s side are set-up to perfection. They are not interested in silly things like dominating possession, just winning football games it’s as simple as that. Barcelona dominated possession against Atleti, yet made surprisingly little of it.
Simeone has turned Atletico Madrid into the best defensive unit in Europe and for all their possession Barcelona hardly look like scoring past that resolute Atleti backline.
The Argentinian does not complicate things. He sets his teams up well and they have the attacking talent in the likes of Antoine Griezmann to hit teams on the break.
This style and system of play has seen Atletico again challenge for La Liga and Simeone’s men are now odds of 12/1 to win the Spanish title, with Barcelona still firm favourites. Due to Atletico Madrid’s and Simeone’s nature you just would not rule them of winning the title though.
The best boss in world football
Diego Simeone has been linked with nearly every top job in the Premier League, yet he never seems to be interested in a move away from the Vicente Calderon. The reason for the interest in the Argentine is simple.
Truly top bosses can make teams more than the sum of their parts and the Argentine has done that to near perfection over his time at Atletico Madrid. No doubt Los Rojiblancos have less expensive and inferior players to the big two in Spain, but Atletico have muscled their way into that old duopoly in true Simeone style.
That perceived overachievement is difficult to sustain, especially when they struggle to keep their best players every summer. Top scorer Griezmann is already being linked with a big money move to the Premier League and that is the difficulty Atleti and Simeone faces.
No boss in the top European leagues has managed to sustain such a long spell of arguably overachievement.
Simeone has taken Atletico to new heights in the modern era and I certainly would not back against the Argentine and his team succeeding where his team of 2014 failed by winning the Champions League this season.
The Rojiblancos are major underdogs to win the competition at odds 10/3, but since when has that stopped Simeone and his team?
Diego Simeone is relatively young for a boss at 45 years-old and still has plenty of time to win silverware and continue to ruffle feathers of the big boys. He has the potential to go on and achieve great things in the game.
Is Diego Simeone a potential managerial great?