Madrid: Spanish football club Atletico Madrid have announced an agreement to extend the contract of coach Diego Simeone for the next four seasons. The Argentinean, whose deal was due to expire at the end of the current season, has agreed a new contact to keep him at the club until the end of June 2017, reports Xinhua.
The deal is a reward for the excellent work which Simeone has done in the Vicente Calderon Stadium since replacing Gregorio Manzano as Atletico coach at the end of December 2011. Simeone resurrected a side that was looking doomed to mid-table obscurity and led them to the 2012 Europa League title, defeating Athletic Club Bilbao 3-0 in the final which was held in Bucharest.
He was able to impart the fighting spirit which won him the affections of the Atletico Madrid supporters during two spells as a player with the club, between 1994-97 and 2003-05 into his squad, which became incredibly difficult to beat. This season's work with Atletico Madrid has been equally impressive and his side is currently second in the BBVA Primera Liga table, all be it 11 points behind league leaders FC Barcelona.
However, importantly for Atletico fans the club is ahead of bitter local rivals, Real Madrid in the classification and under Simeone's leadership the club last week qualified for the final of the Copa del Rey after defeating Sevilla in the semi-final. They will now face Real Madrid in the final where they will look to end the jinx that has seen them fail to beat their neighbours since 1999.
Simeone's work had attracted the attention of other sides, with another of the clubs he spent time with as a player, Inter Milan, thought to have been willing to offer him an contract, and Atletico moved quickly to assure the coach's continuity. Club President, Enrique Cerezo had spent several days insisting a deal was close to being agreed and that was shown to be the case this Tuesday.
Can Diego Simeone help Atletico Madrid reduce the gap with Barcelona at top?