Ahead of the Madrid derby, there is no shortage of narrative as Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid go to battle at the Metropolitano.
However it will also mark a milestone for Atletico manager Diego Simeone. The Argentine is set to manage his 408th game for Los Colchoneros surpassing the previous record set by Atleti legend Luis Aragones.
Speaking ahead of the Madrid derby to Sport, Simeone spoke about what he thought had been the hardest part of his decade in charge of Atletico Madrid.
“I think the time is related to the results, to great work from the club always giving me the possibility of having great footballers, and especially and uniquely for having committed players.”
“And for all of this time we have had committed players. I am fortunate as a manager for having been able to spend so many years with different players and distinct transitions that we have been through. Some that went and others that have arrived and others who have arrived in order to continue to maintain the most complicated and difficult thing in football: players committed to a cause.”
“I am fortunate as a manager, because if not, I would not have been able to be here for so many years, that is clear.”
As time passes on, it becomes increasingly unlikely that La Liga will ever see a manager like Diego Simeone again. Not only in terms of longevity but also achievement.
While Los Colchoneros qualified for the Champions League on and off, Simeone has made them an ever-present in the group stages of Europe’s premier competition. In addition he has also elevated Atletico Madrid to their own echelon in Spanish football. At the point in which the financial gap between Real Madrid and Barcelona is at its highest, Simeone has maintained Atleti within reach of the big two and above every other side in Spain ever since his first full season.