Diego Simeone is one of the protagonists chosen to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the newspaper Ole. From Madrid, where he trains Atlético, the Argentine coach attends to his compatriots to talk about life, family and, above all, what he is passionate about, football.
If there is something that Cholo makes clear, it is that almost everything in his day to day revolves around the ball. “Football is 24 hours. It’s like this. When one is sleeping there is another who is awake. And the one who is awake is thinking and if you are sleeping … Then, there is an advantage for the one who is awake. That is why you have to be careful. I always comment that football is something that is impossible to get rid of all the distractions there have been and to have.If you go to the cinema, it is true that if the film lasts an hour and a half … It may be very good, but in the course of a break that you have, or at the moment when it slowed down a little, you start to think who plays, if Joao plays or Correa plays. It’s hard to tell the one next to you. But in your head you don’t stop thinking, even if you go to rest or sleep. And many times my way of relaxing or going to sleep is imagining how the team can be formed, “he says.
Your day to day
“In the morning, before training, we met for Zoom, for a review of what we are going to do, because we practice at 11. Afterwards, we stayed talking to see the task of the next day, what we are going to prepare. And in In the interim we call each other a thousand times with Hernán (Bonvicini) and with Nelson (Vivas) because things are appearing. I always tell them when the week starts that we are going to play in one way, but when I close the team, it is almost certainly not the same as I told them on Monday. That is a bit of who we are and how we are finding the best solutions. “
Ten years at Atlético
“We were always with one thought, although not thinking of Miguel Muñoz, Real Madrid coach who spent 14 years. The only thing I’m looking for is to be able to see what I like, to feel identified with the footballers who lower what I want on the field And I do not care what we play, if it is a friendly, Copa del Rey, Champions League final, Europa League … We have to compete, because tomorrow in the newspaper and in the world will be Atlético Madrid the team and the result. It matters not who played, but whether Atlético Madrid won or lost. It is the first information. They won or lost. It is what we try to convey with facts and not words. Show that each training session is a search to improve, demand, be on top of them to the player, so that he doesn’t feel like we’ve been here for ten years. So that he feels that if we lose four games, they can kick us out. “
The Atleti today
“The growth of the club has been enormous. And consequently the search for more growth continues to be within our project, not only in terms of football. It has a fantastic stadium, but we need our sports center, which today continues to be loaned. We have few pitches To train, two courts, so you imagine … Imagine, they are two courts that can see us from the outside on a daily basis. I always say that we train for all of Spain, we put tarps, but it looks the same, because everything is transparent with the Sun, do you understand? Today we have a much bigger changing room than the one we started with: the Prof managed to make two real gyms, very complete, full of tools for the boys. We were also able to have a stable breakfast for the footballers every morning with the possibility that they also have lunch there, conditions that previously did not exist “.
More figures in the template
“Based on the work and team successes, there was a general construction in which the club, little by little, was able to give us more possibilities. Before, with all due respect, we had 11 or 12 players in our eyes. Today you look at the squad and it is A headache every training you do because a lot of very important guys are left out. We generate all of this from the opportunity we gave the club to better sell the product and the great management capacity that Miguel Ángel Gil and Cerezo have. But we still have a lot to do. “
More egos in the squad
“I think whether you want it or not, that always happens. When we won the 2014 League we had Juanfran, Joao Miranda, Godín, Alderweirled, Turan, Tiago, we had Sosa, Raúl García, Koke, a Villa, Cebolla Rodríguez, Diego Ribas … Possibly fewer names, but very good footballers because if not, you won’t win. But the only thing that puts everyone in the right place is the field, because the field does not lie. We have to Seeking, from driving, that they understand that what the field shows is what we follow. Talk to each one, tell them, explain, I don’t like it, because you will always end up lying at some point. We play Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday , Saturday … If I have to go every day telling everyone this is going to play because of this, because I imagine the game like that … I was a player and no matter how much you tell me what you tell me, I want to play. It’s your problem. Don’t tell me stories to justify what you’re doing. It can also be interpreted that I justify why I do it. You have to make sure the group understands that I want to win, I don’t care about anything other than winning and that I have no commitment to anyone. “
Something that does not negotiate
“The attitude. I say that bodies speak, I never claim to play well that can be given, how can you play badly. It is a game. Sometimes the other plays better than you or is more prepared than you. But the attitude does not, because the body speaks. And when we all see a body we know if it is happy, if it wants to work, if it is committed. Or if you say go to the left and go to the right, stay closed and it is open; to play a ball, for the construction of a play, for the speed of the game that we want to give to the teams “.
“If you go to Bayern you have no other option but to win. At City, Barcelona or Madrid, the same. Why not at Atlético de Madrid?
How is that supported
“I always say it: you go to Bayern Munich and you have no other option but to win, you go to City, Barcelona and Madrid today, the same. And why not at Atlético de Madrid? If you are not prepared to compete like that, leave the place to someone else. The indispensable thing is neither the coach nor the players. The indispensable thing is the club. “
In Argentina it was offensive and in Spain, defensive. What happened?
“In the middle we found an Atlético who was fighting in a space reserved for Madrid and Barcelona, and to enter, we had to do it like that. Otherwise, we would not enter. Clearer, impossible.”
How do you define yourself
“It’s that I can’t define myself, I don’t know tomorrow what squad I’m going to have. In 2014 we played one way and last season another, with three center-backs, high lanes, two defenders, nothing else. Carrasco is offensive, Trippier too, Llorente We discovered him and strengthened him as a midfielder with a goal, Lemar was left for dead, he could not get out of his ostracism and the bad moment of two previous years, and we found him a place … Suárez seemed to have been expelled from Barcelona and broke it , Joao and Correa shared that place to give him vitality, and we won a championship by going 30 dates first, which is very difficult. Luckily God was on our side this time. Imagine the last game, that Madrid beat him on the hour Villarreal and we, who had to win yes or yes, drew or lost against Valladolid … Imagine that label if Madrid were champions, after going for the first 30 dates … “.
The dream of the Champions
“The Champions League is very difficult, that is. Very difficult. How can I explain it … I don’t know what example to set because it can be detrimental. You see it to the City that is preparing by putting millions to win the Champions League and still could not win it. You see the Liverpool, PSG, who do not know what to do to generate a group of extraordinary footballers, you see United who strengthened very well, and you say … (makes the difficult gesture) And I’m forgetting Dortmund … “.
And Bayern …
“Sorry, a lack of respect, did you see how Bayern Munich plays? He plays with Pavard, who is a winger, from the right center back. And Lucas, who in history was a more lateral center back, and a libero. He plays with two wingers. tall, as he was with Bielsa at some point in 3-3-3-1, and three more forwards. They all arrive, they all score goals. They never lose it. And he has Kimmich, the only time he lost a ball was when he gave it to his son to play around the house. “
Madrid and Barcelona
-Do you understand that we always have Real Madrid and Barcelona? I tell everyone. We play Copa del Rey and they are there. We play the league and they are. We play in the Champions League, and apart from Real Madrid and Barcelona, there are City, Bayern Munich, Liverpool … The good thing is that we generated and we were forming something so beautiful that now it forces us to win. “