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Diego Simeone

Diego Simeone
Diego Pablo Simeone en la presentación de la promoción de la estación Estadio Metropolitano.jpg
Simeone during an Atlético Madrid meeting in September 2017
Personal information
Full name Diego Pablo Simeone[1]
Date of birth (1970-04-28) 28 April 1970 (age 47)
Place of birth Buenos Aires, Argentina
Height 1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Defensive midfielder
Club information
Current team
Atlético Madrid (manager)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1987–1990 Vélez Sársfield 76 (14)
1990–1992 Pisa 55 (6)
1992–1994 Sevilla 64 (12)
1994–1997 Atlético Madrid 98 (21)
1997–1999 Internazionale 57 (11)
1999–2003 Lazio 90 (15)
2003–2005 Atlético Madrid 36 (2)
2005–2006 Racing Club 37 (3)
Total 513 (84)
National team
1989 Argentina U20 4 (1)
1996 Argentina U23 6 (1)
1988–2002 Argentina 106 (11)
Teams managed
2006 Racing Club
2006–2007 Estudiantes
2008 River Plate
2009–2010 San Lorenzo
2011 Catania
2011 Racing Club
2011– Atlético Madrid
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Diego Pablo Simeone (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈdjeɣo ˈpaβlo simeˈone]; born 28 April 1970), also known as El Cholo ([el ˈtʃolo]), is an Argentine football manager and former player, who played as a midfielder, and is currently the manager for Atletico Madrid.

In his club career that started in 1987, Simeone played for Vélez Sarsfield, Pisa, Sevilla, Atlético Madrid, Internazionale, Lazio and Racing Club. He won a domestic double with Atlético Madrid in 1996, and the UEFA Cup with Inter in 1998, also winning another domestic double with Lazio in 2000, as well as the 1999 UEFA Super Cup and the 2000 Supercoppa Italiana.

Simeone was capped over 100 times for the Argentina national team and represented the country at the 1994, 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cups, and in four editions of the Copa América, winning the tournament in 1991 and 1993. He also won the FIFA Confederations Cup in 1992, and a silver medal at the 1996 Summer Olympic games.

As a manager, Simeone has coached Racing Club, Estudiantes de La Plata, River Plate, San Lorenzo and Catania before joining Atlético Madrid in 2011. He won the Argentine Primera División both with Estudiantes and River Plate, and has won five titles since joining Atletico Madrid, including the Liga title, the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Europa League, also reaching two UEFA Champions League finals with the club.

Club career

When Simeone was 14, his youth coach Victorio Spinetto nicknamed him "Cholo", as his energetic play reminded him of former Boca Juniors player and Argentine international Carmelo Simeone (no relation) who possessed the nickname.[2]

After starting his career with Vélez Sarsfield, Simeone moved to Italian Serie A club Pisa in 1990. The club was relegated in his first season and, after it failed to gain promotion the following year, Simeone was sold to Sevilla in the Spanish Primera División. Simeone played two seasons in Seville, after which he was signed by Atlético Madrid. At Atlético, he was part of the team which won the double of the Liga title and Copa del Rey during the 1995–96 season.

In 1997, Simeone returned to Serie A with Internazionale and played two full seasons, winning the 1997–98 UEFA Cup in a side spearheaded by Ronaldo up front. In 1999, Simeone joined fellow Argentines Néstor Sensini, Matías Almeyda, Hernán Crespo and Juan Sebastián Verón at Sven-Göran Eriksson's Lazio. The side had gone close to the Scudetto in the season before Simeone's arrival and he helped deliver the championship after a season, where Juventus led the standings by two points going into the last day. A Juve loss at rainy Perugia coupled with Lazio's comfortable home win over Reggina at the Stadio Olimpico ensured Simeone's first Serie A title. After winning the double in Spain, he would then add the Italian double as Lazio edged out Inter to claim the 1999–2000 Coppa Italia.

He went on to play three more seasons in Rome, which included more last day drama as Simeone's goal against former club Inter on the last day of the 2001–02 campaign effectively ruined his old employers' title dream.

Simeone returned to Atlético Madrid in 2003, spending his next two seasons there. In total, he played in 165 matches for Atlético, scoring 31 goals. In 2005, he left Europe to finish his playing career in Argentina with Racing Club.

International career

Simeone (second from left, lower row) with the Argentina squad that won the 1991 Copa América held in Chile

In 1992, Simeone represented the Argentina under-23 team at the 1992 CONMEBOL Pre-Olympic Tournament in Paraguay, which saw Argentina fail to qualify for the 1992 Summer Olympics.[3]

For the Argentina senior team, Simeone amassed 106 caps,[4] the first coming in 1988.

Simeone won the 1991 and 1993 editions of the Copa América with Argentina. He played in the 1994, 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cups. He was a member of the team that won the silver medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, as one of the three over-23 players allowed per squad. As a midfielder, Simeone scored 11 goals for his country, including one in the final of the 1992 King Fahd Cup.

During the 1998 World Cup, England's David Beckham was sent off for kicking Simeone in retaliation for a foul (see also Argentina and England football rivalry). Simeone later said he simulated the injury from the kick in order to get Beckham sent off.[5] Sports Illustrated was critical of the Argentinian's theatrics in that incident, stating Simeone first delivered a "heavy-handed challenge" on Beckham and then "fell like a ton of bricks" when Beckham retaliated.[6] In the following match, against the Netherlands, Simeone was injured by a tackle from Arthur Numan during his team's defeat.[7] In the 2002 World Cup, his last, Argentina was eliminated in the group stage, which included a 1–0 loss to England in which Beckham converted a penalty.

Simeone said he was "embarrassed" at having surpassed Diego Maradona as Argentina's most capped player, though Simeone has since been surpassed by Roberto Ayala, Javier Mascherano, Javier Zanetti and Lionel Messi.[4]

Style of play

Simeone was regarded as a tenacious, versatile, hard-working and complete two-way midfielder who was mobile, good in the air and capable both of winning balls and starting attacking plays, also having a penchant for scoring several goals himself. This enabled him to play anywhere in midfield throughout his career, although he was usually deployed in the centre in a box-to-box or defensive midfield role.[8][9][10] A talented yet combative player, he was primarily known for his leadership, tactical versatility, intelligence, strength and stamina,[11] although he was also praised by pundits for his technique, vision and passing range.[8][11] Simeone once described his style as "holding a knife between his teeth".[8] His main inspirations as a player were Brazilian midfielder Falcão and German midfielder Lothar Matthäus.[12]

Managerial career

Early years

Simeone ended his playing career for Racing Club, playing his last match on 17 February 2006, and then became manager for the same team. After a rough start, the team made an impressive finish in the 2006 Clausura. When a new club president was elected, Simeone left Racing in May 2006 and was replaced by Reinaldo Merlo.

On 18 May, Simeone became head coach of Estudiantes de La Plata and soon led them to their first league title in 23 years after defeating Boca Juniors 2–1 in a final match played on 13 December 2006. In an October 2006 poll in the sports daily Olé, Simeone was voted as the best manager in the Argentine league.[13] He was also praised as a "born manager" by former Argentine international Roberto Perfumo.[14] Simeone left Estudiantes after the end of the 2007 Apertura, where Estudiantes was not a contender after a poor start, but had a strong finish of nine games without defeat. On 15 December 2007, Simeone was unveiled as the new River Plate coach, succeeding Daniel Passarella. The contract was reported to be for one year, starting on 3 January 2008.[15] After an early elimination in the Copa Libertadores, losing to San Lorenzo in the second round, Simeone and River Plate went on to win the 2008 Clausura championship after beating Olimpo 2–1 in the Monumental.[16] On 7 November 2008, Simeone announced his resignation as coach of River Plate after their elimination in the quarter-finals of the 2008 Copa Sudamericana by Mexican side Chivas and a poor run of form of 11 domestic matches without a win, which left them bottom of the Primera División Argentina with only six matches remaining.[17][18] On 15 April 2009, Simeone joined San Lorenzo to replace Miguel Ángel Russo following the club's exit in the first round of the 2009 Copa Libertadores.[19] On 3 April 2010, Simeone resigned from San Lorenzo due to poor results and mounting criticism.[20]

Catania and Racing Club

On 19 January 2011, Simeone flew to Sicily to join Serie A side Catania, replacing Marco Giampaolo, who left the club just hours earlier.[21][22] On 1 June 2011, Simeone left his post after helping Catania stave off relegation.[23] On 21 June 2011, Simeone was named as the new coach of Racing Club for a second spell in charge, replacing Miguel Ángel Russo, who had resigned the week prior.[24]

Atlético Madrid

Atlético Madrid celebrates after winning the 2013–14 La Liga

On 23 December 2011, Simeone was unveiled as the new Atlético Madrid coach, succeeding Gregorio Manzano, who had been dismissed the day before following defeat to third-tier Albacete in the Copa del Rey. His first season ended with the team winning the UEFA Europa League by beating Athletic Bilbao 3–0 in the final in Bucharest.[25]

On 31 August 2012, his Atlético side won the UEFA Super Cup after defeating Chelsea 4–1 at the Stade Louis II in Monaco. On 17 May 2013, he won the Copa del Rey after Atlético defeated rivals Real Madrid 2–1 at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. Simeone also led the team to a third-place finish in 2012–13 La Liga.

Atlético began the 2013–14 season with a similar squad to their prior season, despite selling star player Radamel Falcao to Monaco for a reported €60 million fee and acquiring David Villa from Barcelona on a free transfer. While the season began with a defeat to Barça in the 2013 Supercopa de España, the team recorded eight-straight victories in La Liga, the best league start in club history. This included a 1–0 away win at the Santiago Bernabéu against Real Madrid, making Simeone the first Atlético manager since Claudio Ranieri in 1999 to record a league victory there. Atlético finished the first half of the season in first place in La Liga, level on points with Barcelona at 47. In the last round of the season, on 17 May, Atlético needed at least a draw in the Camp Nou against Barcelona to be crowned champions for the first time since 1996, while a loss would give the title to Barcelona. A Diego Godín header from a corner kick in the 48th minute gave Atlético an equaliser and the draw they needed to win their tenth league title and first since 1996, when Simeone himself was an Atlético player.

Simeone became the second Argentine manager after Helenio Herrera to hand Atlético a Spanish championship, and the second manager after Luis Aragonés to win it both as a player and as a coach of the team. Under Simeone, Atlético collected 90 points in La Liga, surpassing its 1996 record of 87, making the 2013–14 season the most successful in club history.[26]

Diego Simeone in 2017.

Atlético finished top of their Champions League group and qualified for the quarter-finals with a 5–1 aggregate win over Milan in the round of 16. This was the first time they had reached the Champions League quarter-finals since 1996–97, when Simeone played for the team. In the quarter-finals, Atlético defeated Barcelona 2–1 on aggregate from Simeone's tactic of cutting the swift-passing midfield of Barcelona in two, thus denying them space and isolating Xavi and Andrés Iniesta from forwards Lionel Messi and Neymar. In the semi-finals, Atlético defeated José Mourinho's Chelsea 3–1 at Stamford Bridge following a goalless draw at home to reach the Champions League final for only the second time in club history, the first being in 1974.[27] Atlético was the only undefeated team in the Champions League prior to the final, recording nine wins and three draws, and had the best defence in the competition, conceding only 6 goals in 12 matches. In the final on 24 May, Atlético faced city rivals Real Madrid at the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon. Despite leading from Diego Godín's header, Atlético conceded a late equaliser in the 93rd minute of the match. The goal hampered Atlético's morale and the team ended up losing 4–1 after extra time, with Simeone losing the opportunity to be the third Argentine coach to win the Champions League, after Luis Carniglia and Helenio Herrera. After the final goal, Real Madrid's Raphaël Varane kicked the ball towards Simeone, causing Simeone to run onto the pitch in anger. He was sent to the stands and Varane was booked for the incident. Reflecting, Simeone said, "I also made a mistake with my reaction. He's a young guy with a bright future."[28] Simeone also admitted a mistake in selecting striker Diego Costa to start the match, as he had been recently injured and was forced off after eight minutes.[29]

A year later, during the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League he led Atletico to their second Champions League final in 3 years, defeating PSV Eindhoven on penalties during the round of 16, defending Champions FC Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate, and favorites FC Bayern München 2-2, going through on away goals, setting up a repeat of the 2014 Final again facing Real Madrid. The match ended 1-1 after extra time leading to a penalty shootout. Juanfran was the only player to miss his kick, enabling Cristiano Ronaldo to score Real's last spot kick, condemning Atleti to a second Champions League final defeat in three years. Simeone later stated that he was proud of his team.

On 5 September 2017, Simeone extended his contract with Atlético for two more years, until June 2020.[30]

Career statistics



Club performance League Cup Super Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Argentina League Copa Argentina Supercopa Argentina South America Total
1987–88 Vélez Sársfield Primera División 28 4
1988–89 16 2
1989–90 32 8
Italy League Coppa Italia Supercoppa Italiana Europe Total
1990–91 Pisa Serie A 31 4 1 0 32 4
1991–92 Serie B 24 2 1 0 25 2
Spain League Copa del Rey Supercopa de España Europe Total
1992–93 Sevilla La Liga 33 4 0 0 33 4
1993–94 31 8 0 0 31 8
1994–95 Atlético Madrid La Liga 29 6 8 2 37 8
1995–96 37 12 8 0 45 12
1996–97 32 3 3 0 2 0 7 4 44 7
Italy League Coppa Italia Supercoppa Italiana Europe Total
1997–98 Internazionale Serie A 30 6 2 0 9 1 41 7
1998–99 27 5 7 0 9 2 43 7
1999–00 Lazio Serie A 28 5 7 2 12 0 47 7
2000–01 30 2 2 0 1 0 8 1 41 3
2001–02 8 1 0 0 5 0 13 1
2002–03 24 7 3 0 7 0 34 7
Spain League Copa del Rey Supercopa de España Europe Total
2003–04 Atlético Madrid La Liga 28 2 4 0 32 2
2004–05 8 0 1 0 6 1 15 1
Argentina League Copa Argentina Supercopa Argentina South America Total
2004–05 Racing Primera División 17 2
2005–06 20 1
Total Argentina 113 20
Italy 202 32
Spain 198 35
Career total 513 84



Argentina national team
Year Apps Goals
1988 2 1
1989 3 0
1990 1 0
1991 9 2
1992 3 1
1993 13 1
1994 10 0
1995 8 2
1996 6 2
1997 9 1
1998 12 0
1999 11 1
2000 11 0
2001 6 0
2002 2 0
Total 106 11


As of 22 February 2018
Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Racing Club 18 February 2006 4 May 2006 14 5 3 6 035.71
Estudiantes La Plata 18 May 2006 3 December 2007 60 34 15 11 056.67
River Plate 15 December 2007 7 November 2008 44 20 12 12 045.45
San Lorenzo 15 April 2009 3 April 2010 48 21 9 18 043.75
Catania 19 January 2011 1 June 2011 18 7 3 8 038.89
Racing Club 21 June 2011 23 December 2011 20 8 10 2 040.00
Atlético Madrid 23 December 2011 Present 357 221 78 58 061.90
Total 561 316 130 115 056.33




Atlético Madrid (2)
Internazionale (1)
Lazio (4)


Argentina (4)




Estudiantes La Plata (1)
River Plate (1)
Atlético Madrid (5)


Personal life

Simeone's son Giovanni is a professional football player who currently plays for Serie A club Fiorentina.[33] His third son, Giuliano, was seen as a ball-boy for Atlético Madrid.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Jens Fjellström ny tränare i Malmö FF (Jens Fjellström new coach in Malmö FF)". 2016-07-26. 
  3. ^ "Argentina v Bolivia, 02 February 1992". 
  4. ^ a b "RSSSF Argentine international players". Archived from the original on January 17, 2010. 
  5. ^ Carlin, John (May 19, 2002). "England v Argentina – A history". Observer Sport Monthly, 19 May 2002. London. Retrieved November 15, 2006. 
  6. ^ "CNN/SI - World Cup France '98 - The Netherlands pay back controversial loss to Argentina - Saturday July 04, 1998 03:33 PM". 1998-07-04. 
  7. ^ "CNN/SI - World Cup France '98 - Bergkamp scores in 90th minute to lead the Netherlands to victory - Wednesday September 16, 1998 05:34 PM". 1998-09-16. 
  8. ^ a b c Michael Cox (10 March 2014). "Unlike Simeone's Atletico, Seedorf's AC Milan still searching for identity". ESPN FC. Retrieved 26 July 2016. 
  9. ^ "Lazio:| Simeone 'Io in panchina? Prima o poi...'" (in Italian). Calcio Mercato. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  10. ^ Marco Fallisi (4 May 2016). "Simeone, alle origini del Cholo: da Pisa a Catania, dall'Inter alla Lazio leader nato" (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. Retrieved 18 July 2016. 
  11. ^ a b "Diego Simeone juntaba garra, carácter y una gran técnica" (in Spanish). 1 August 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  12. ^ Mattia Zangari (17 March 2015). "Simeone e le fonti di ispirazione:"Da giovane ammiravo Falcão, poi ho cominciato ad apprezzare Matthäus"" (in Italian). F.C. Inter News. Retrieved 18 July 2016. 
  13. ^ "Simeone, el gran estratega del fútbol argentino". 2006-10-31. 
  14. ^ El técnico se hace, sí, pero sobre todo nace[dead link]
  15. ^ "Guardian football". London: [dead link]
  16. ^ "River Plate crowned champion of Argentine Clausura –". International Herald Tribune. 2009-03-29. 
  17. ^ Diego Simeone renunció a la dirección técnica de River at ESPN Deportes (in Spanish)
  18. ^ "Las causas de una salida inevitable". [permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "Ex-River boss Simeone to manage San Lorenzo". 2009-04-16. 
  20. ^ "Simeone quits San Lorenzo post after dismal run". 2010-04-04. 
  21. ^ "ESCLUSIVA TMW - Criscitiello: "Colpo Lo Monaco: Simeone a Catania"" [TMW EXCLUSIVE - Criscitiello: "Lo Monaco strikes: Simeone to Catania"]. Tutto Mercato Web (in Italian). January 19, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Diego Pablo Simeone è il nuovo allenatore del Catania" (in Italian). Calcio Catania. January 19, 2011. Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Catania, rescinde Simeone" [Simeone quits Catania]. Tutto Mercato Web (in Italian). June 1, 2011. Retrieved June 1, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Diego Simeone fue presentado como nuevo técnico de Racing Club" [Diego Simeone was introduced as new coach of Racing Club]. Racing (in Spanish). June 21, 2011. Archived from the original on June 25, 2011. Retrieved June 21, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Europa League - Falcao inspires Atletico to Europa crown". Atlético Madrid. May 9, 2012. Retrieved May 9, 2012. 
  26. ^ Martin, Richard (17 May 2014). "Barcelona 1 Atletico Madrid 1, La Liga: match report". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
  27. ^ "Chelsea bow out to superior firepower of Atlético Madrid". Guardian. 30 April 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
  28. ^ "Simeone squares up to Varane". Marca. 25 May 2014. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  29. ^ "Atletico Madrid: Simeone admits to mistake over injured Costa". BBC Sport. 25 May 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  30. ^ "Diego Simeone: Atletico Madrid manager signs two-year contract extension". BBC Sport. 5 September 2017. 
  31. ^ "Diego Simeone". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman. 
  32. ^ "Diego Pablo Simeone - Century of International Appearances". 2002-06-15. 
  33. ^ Blair Newman; Luca Hodges-Ramon; Richard Hall; Franco Ficetola; Mark Neale; Emmet Gates (24 January 2017). "The 50 best young footballers in Italy". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 

External links