Few people anticipated that Diego El Cholo Simeone will achieve stellar success with Atletico Madrid upon his arrival to Vicente Calderon after short and relatively inconspicuous managerial spells in Argentina and Italy.
Having spent five years embedding his own DNA, way of thinking, character and his soul into the club he spent two years playing for, temperamental Argentine appears to have nothing left to give to the Spanish outfit.
At least that is what back-to-back opening La Liga draws against minnows Alaves and Leganes appear to be telling us.
Return to Atletico Madrid was an emotional one to Diego Simeone.
After all, Cholo is an emotional man and his reunion with Los Colchoneros has struck the romantic cord with both fans and club management.
His character so well documented during the playing days was always going to be the main powering force in his managerial work and with undivided support he got at Vicente Calderon Diego Simeone was destined to be an instant success.
El Cholo’s first season with Atletico Madrid ended in somewhat unexpected glory though.
Having replaced Gregorio Manzano who got the axe a day before the team had lost the Copa del Rey match to third-tier Albacete, Diego Simeone went on to lead Atleti to Europa League title and UEFA Super Cup trophy in his maiden year with the club.
A revolutionist in his way of thinking, and feeling the beautiful game, Diego Simeone choose not to imitate, but to invent. Replacing the increasingly popular and coveted “tiki-taka” brand of football, Simeone introduced something that is now being called “Cholismo”, after his nickname.
The easiest way to describe it is to go head in towards winning.
Tactical details of the “Cholismo” include shift from possession and pressing to winding up rivalling players, sitting deep not wanting the ball and firing quick breaks and counterattacks after your opponents grow weary and tired to make a response.
The results speak for themselves.
Diego Simeone was handed a daunting challenge he ultimately succeeded in. Atletico Madrid manager managed to disrupt the Barcelona – Real Madrid duopoly and sneak in between the big two of the Spanish football.
It wasn’t easy and he made it while fighting to replace key players – Arda Turan, Joao Miranda and David, Villa, Diego Costa, Filipe Luis, Radamel Falcao before them – with new ones that would go on to make a difference and above all understand his philosophy.
Following the unlikely success in his maiden year with Atletico Madrid, Diego Simeone went on to win three more titles with Los Colchoneros.
Copa del Rey title in 2012-13 was followed by crown jewel La Liga the following year. Supercopa de Espanya was the cherry on top of a glorious year 2014 and Diego Simeone has every right to be proud of his achievements during the last five years with Atleti.
The UEFA Champions Dream remains out of reach and that is one trophy Diego Simeone will hope to wrap up before he part ways with his club.
Pitted against the likes of Bayern Munich, Rostov and PSV Eindhoven, Atletico Madrid will be a stern test for anyone who dare to challenge Diego Simeone’s men for a place in the knockouts.
Atleti open the group stage with a trip to the Netherlands and are looking at the betting odds of 10/11 to snatch a win at the beginning of the European campaign.
Ahead of the next week’s match, here are some key aspects for your consideration:
Having won almost everything there is to be won on the club level, Diego Simeone is believed to have given all he could to Atletico Madrid.
A worrying start to the new season and consecutive stalemates against the teams that usually represent no threat to Cholo’s side have raised plenty of questions. First of them opens a subject of whether Diego Simeone is running out of the magic dust which saw his players perform above their abilities for a common, seemingly unreachable cause.
The second question deal with Cholo’s future.
Reports in Spain are surfacing that Atletico Madrid boss already knows when he will leave the club, and who he could manage next despite being attached to his current club until 2020.
Spanish media outlet El Confidencial claim that the Argentine tactician is unlikely to see his contract through and that he is preparing for an early exit in June 2016, with Inter Milan being mooted as his potential destination.
With Diego Simeone already thinking about a move away from Vicente Calderon and disappointing results at the beginning of the new campaign, could it be possible that Diego Simeone might be in for an ever more premature exit?