LA LIGA | ATLÉTICO MADRID
"Coaching Madrid or Brazil? I'd pass and say bye to the money!"
Simeone spoke to FIFA about Atlético, Messi and the Champions League final in Lisbon: "You can’t turn back time. And when you cannot go back, it’s better not to dwell on the past."
Diego Pablo Simeone was interviewed by FIFA during last week’s Ballon d’Or ceremony and spoke to them about life with Atlético Madrid, the Champions League final in Lisbon and his possible future as the head coach of Argentina.
Identity...’Cholismo’: “We have a clearly identifiable playing style, that’s true. I’ve always said that the teams that best espoused those ideals have been Estudiantes de La Plata, where I coached for a year and a half, and this Atletico side. That said, I wouldn’t go so far as to talk about ‘Cholismo’, even if my teams do play in a particular way.”
It’s not just direct football: “No, they’re just clichés trotted out whenever a team can’t find a way past us. That’s not our problem.”
His decision to start Diego Costa in the Champions League final: “It was a very considered decision given that the final of the Champions League was at stake. I always tell people that the day before, Costa was doing 100-metre sprints and looked like an athlete. I reasoned that if he could give us 45-50 minutes, then it’d be worth playing him in the final, especially given his importance to us. Alas, fate had other ideas and we lost a potential matchwinner [after just eight minutes]. But he wasn’t the only one: Arda [Turan] got injured too and couldn’t play. For all that, we still competed at a very high level.”
Has he watched the Lisbon game again?: “No, no. You can’t turn back time. And when you cannot go back, it’s better not to dwell on the past.”
How do you think the Real Madrid fans perceive you?: “I imagine they’ve got mixed feelings. On the one hand I’m sure they don’t like me but, on the other, I get shown a lot of respect when I’m out on the street. I get a lot of people coming up to me saying 'I’m a Real Madrid fan, but I’d honestly like to congratulate you. I like the way your guys work and how much of a team they are'. I think that recently Atletico have shown something that people need in their everyday lives: energy.”
Being coach of Argentina: “In coaching terms, I think it’s a place for a grandfather – someone more serene and composed who can see things in a different way. I still feel I need to be on the pitch, doing training and being with players day-in, day-out. The national team cannot give you that. Is it something I’d like to do one day? Absolutely! I spent 12 or 14 years with the team – it was a privileged time and very much part of my life. Hopefully it will come to pass at the perfect time for both parties.”
If you were offered the best contract imaginable to coach either Real Madrid or Brazil, which would you pick?: “I think I’d have to pass on that and say goodbye to the money!”