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Is Diego Simeone the most underrated manager of all time? 

When discussing the most successful managers of the past decade, names like Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, and Zinedine Zidane readily roll off the tongue. These tactical masterminds have dominated headlines and trophy cabinets in recent years.

However, nestled amongst these giants stands a figure who, despite consistent achievement, often gets relegated to the “almost there” category: Diego Simeone.

Why does Diego Simeone deserve more recognition? 

Simeone’s story with Atletico Madrid is one of remarkable transformation. In 2011, when he took the helm, Atletico was a mid-table La Liga team stuck in the shadow of the Spanish giants, Barcelona and Real Madrid. They were a team yearning for relevance, a yearning Simeone would soon satiate.

His impact was immediate. Atletico, under his leadership, rose from the ashes, solidifying themselves as a permanent fixture in La Liga’s top three. This wasn’t just a fleeting resurgence; it was the dawn of a new era for the club. 

Simeone, affectionately nicknamed “El Cholo,” instilled a fierce, disciplined playing style that became synonymous with Atletico Madrid. His brand of football, characterized by relentless pressing, a rock-solid defense, and lightning-fast counter-attacks, became a force to be reckoned with.

Achievements: 

The true measure of Simeone’s achievement lies not just in turning Atletico into a consistent top contender, but in disrupting the established order of Spanish football. For years, Barcelona and Real Madrid had dominated La Liga, creating a seemingly unbreakable duopoly. Simeone, however, dared to challenge this hegemony. 

By forging a team that could not only compete with the giants but also outwit them, he ended their stranglehold on the league. This culminated in two La Liga titles for Atletico in the 2013-14 and 2020-21 seasons, a feat unthinkable before Simeone’s arrival.

His trophy cabinet with Atletico extends beyond La Liga glory. He guided them to a Copa del Rey victory, a Spanish Super Cup, and a staggering two Europa Leagues. 

Under Simeone Atletico Madrid has been a constant presence in the UEFA Champions League and they have also been the runners-up twice falling short on both occasions to Real Madrid. 

This is a testament to his ability to adapt and succeed in various competitions. Simeone is, quite simply, a winner.

Building an Identity 

Simeone’s impact transcends trophies and league positions. He has transformed Atletico Madrid’s identity. Gone are the days of being a mere spectator in the Spanish footballing landscape. 

Under Simeone, they have become a team respected and feared by all. He has instilled a winning mentality that permeates the club, attracting top players who crave the competitive fire he ignites in them.

Style of Play and Criticism 

However, Simeone’s achievements often come with a caveat. His defensive-minded style of play is sometimes criticized for being overly pragmatic and lacking in attacking flair. 

But to dismiss him solely on these grounds is to overlook the strategic brilliance behind his methods. Simeone recognizes the limitations of his resources and tailors his approach accordingly. 

He prioritizes organization, discipline, and exploiting weaknesses in opponents, a tactic that has proven incredibly successful. Moreover, his tactics are not static; he demonstrates a remarkable ability to adapt his strategies to different opponents and situations.

Longevity and Consistency 

Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of Simeone’s managerial prowess is his longevity. In today’s volatile managerial landscape, where managers are often discarded at the first sign of struggle, Simeone stands out as a beacon of stability. 

His 13-year reign at Atletico Madrid makes him La Liga’s longest-serving manager. This sustained success speaks volumes about his leadership skills, his ability to motivate players, and his adaptability to an ever-evolving sport.

Conclusion: 

While Pep Guardiola revolutionizes possession-based football, and Jose Mourinho masterminds tactical masterclasses, Diego Simeone quietly goes about his business, year after year, building a team that punches above its weight, disrupts the established order, and consistently delivers trophies. 

His achievements have earned him a place amongst the managerial greats, not as an “almost there,” but as a true mastermind who deserves recognition for the sustained success he has brought to Atletico Madrid.

What do you think?

Written by TackleFromBehind

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