turns out with Simeone and Atleti we have entered a melancholy loop. The team plays poorly and looks less and less like its coach, criticism intensifies against him when he loses and then appeals to the titles achieved with Cholo since he arrived and, especially this season, a rhetorical question is thrown into the air: ” Who is the reigning champion? There is talk of the end of the cycle, of a bottomless pit, it is remembered that more than footballers, what Simeone requires are gladiators with faith, the newspaper library is pulled to remember the Gabi, Filipe Luis, Godín or Juanfran, Atleti one day wins and, then, at the exit of the Metropolitano, people shout that “Hey, hey, hey, Cholo Simeone!”…until he loses again. And when, playing badly, attacking regularly and defending worse, Atleti lose, as was the case with what happened yesterday, criticism intensifies against them again, the titles won in the past are appealed to again and they return to ask in a rhetorical way that “Who is the current champion?” The loop restarted, and given that Simeone no longer has too many soldiers left on the field, the Atleti press, historically docile, comes out in defense of its beloved charismatic leader.
The loop is just that, a loop. You get into a loop when you do one thing over and over again always the same, in the same way, the critics repeating criticism and the praisers repeating praise and always reaching the same conclusion, and that is that Cholo has earned the right to decide and if not he is the one who makes the decision, no one from the club will dare to throw him out. And that’s when someone like me says that, actually, Atlético de Madrid has never played football well, not even when he reached two Champions League finals; that Atleti, yes, it was a toothache but others played football well. And that’s when the perioathlete on duty wonders, and perhaps rightly so, “And what is it to play football well?” and he insists on the true and unquestionable fact that Diego Pablo Simeone turned the club around like a sock, probably becoming the best mattress coach of all time. And that’s when someone like me remembers that Simeone is the highest paid coach in the world and that someone like him and with the squad he has must be demanded to play better. And we go back into the loop.
It’s a spiraling, repeating mental loop that, if caught with your defenses down, can drive you insane. The debate has long ceased to be healthy and has little to do with football and I imagine that this discussion about whether or not angels have sex will break down when, one of these years, Atlético de Madrid stays out of the Champions League, which is the minimum essential objective required by the property, which is Miguel Ángel Gil and Enrique Cerezo. It is possible that when these two gentlemen meet outside the European Cup they will touch their clothes and ask Cholo for explanations. Or maybe not. It may be that, even in the Europa League, as Atleti is right now, the decision will continue to depend exclusively on the coach, who may take the step or maybe not, who knows.
I have no doubt that When fifty years have passed, Simeone’s stage will be spoken of as one of the most brilliant in the history of the rojiblanco club. Personally, I have no doubt that Simeone’s cycle at Atleti concluded, which was left over this season and who have tried to lengthen the inevitable. And I do not rent the profit to whoever comes after Simeone because the arrival of another coach probably does not mean better football and it is even possible that, playing more beautifully, they will not win as many titles, but that will be a different loop in any case. He will leave or they will kick him out, probably the first, but as soon as they paint coarse (which they will paint) they will remember Cholo and, in between, possibly the owner of the club, which is what Gil Marín wants to avoid at all costs. Today it is true that Simeone is only saved by memory, longing and the past. In any other elite club in the world I would already be on the street but the media shield and the fact of living in the same city with Real Madrid, who are beaten even for winning the European Cup, is working the dangerous miracle that this coach survives one more day clinging like a limpet to the last league he won. The loop, by the way, can lead you to require a footballer with a grade II sprain in the medial collateral ligament of his right knee to get up and play. Because that knee belongs to Atleti, it belongs to Cholo and nobody else but him. Our beloved charismatic leader.