Atletico Madrid have secured the services of Diego Simeone with a bumper new deal.
Diego Simeone and Atletico Madrid have finally made the announcement everyone was waiting for, as the club officially declared that the Argentine coach will remain as their manager, having agreed a new deal until 2020.
"This is a historic day for us to announce what all Atlético fans wanted to hear: 'El Cholo is staying. It gives me huge pride to make public, his contract renewal until 2020," enthused club president Enrique Cerezo, in the VIP lounge of the Vicente Calderón on Tuesday, at a press conference arranged after overnight talks were successfully concluded.
Although the exact figures haven't been revealed, it is believed Simeone will now be the highest paid member of staff at the club. Cerezo believes 'El Cholo' is worth every cent of the Euros invested in such a talented manager, underlining: "Simeone embodies like nobody else, the values of our club: Passion, effort, nobility, hard-work, solidarity, courage... Just as he demonstrated during his years as a player, when he gave his body and soul to defend our colours."
Manchester City were linked with attempts to lure the 44-year-old away, but according to the Independent, the Premier League club denied any such "huge offer" had been made. With all such rumours and speculation well and truly kicked into touch now, for his own part on Tuesday, after thanking Atletico Madrid for their renewed faith in his coaching team, Simeone explained:
"This club is in a time of absolute growth and I chose to stay where I am. That's for sure. In live and at times, it's difficult to make such choices, because you're either unsure or you don't get to choose."
"I'm absolutely certain that I'm choosing, and have chosen to stay here, because I'm convinced this club will keep growing. I see strength and enthusiasm."
Since arriving at the club in December 2011, Atletico Madrid have indeed shown marvellous growth and improvement, under the firm guidance of Simeone. His first piece of silverware was the 2011-12 UEFA Europa League title, which was followed up with the UEFA Super Cup at the start of the 2012-13 campaign, which also culminated in Copa del Rey victory.
The best was yet to come for Simeone and Atletico Madrid though, when last season they successfully broke the Real Madrid and Barcelona duopoly in La Liga, lifting the title. Reaching the UEFA Champions League final was the icing on the cake to a fantastic campaign, and they were agonisingly close to winning that too, but for a Sergio Ramos goal for Real Madrid deep into stoppage time. Although Real Madrid would win in extra-time, the Argentine coach and his team more than proved a point that the 'big two' can be challenged.
Back to back La Liga Coach of the Year winner for the last two seasons, Simeone has become one of the most coveted managers in world football. He's entirely happy where he is and clearly in no doubts about his affinity for Atletico Madrid and what the future holds:
"There's a move to the new stadium ahead, there's lots of enthusiasm. There's responsibility, commitment, hard work, nerves, fear. There's a little of everything and it all depends on the ball going into the back of the net, but what we will guarantee is hard work... always."
There's no doubting how Atletico Madrid fans will react to this news. They'll be celebrating this as being just as important a moment as the trophies Simeone has brought them in the last four seasons.