It is obvious that Cholo Simeone is going through his worst moment as Atlético de Madrid’s head coach. The team is sunk in a very deep sporting crisis that has no precedents since the arrival of the Argentinian and the most worrying aspect is that there is no a clear answer on how to get back on the right path.
Atlético were a big club in Spain until the addition of Simeone, but they were always behind Real Madrid and Barcelona. As the coach said himself at his presentation, they were a hard worker, fast and counterattack team he has led to excellence during his ten years in the bench.
He changed the dramatic situation right away, as Atlético were fighting to avoid relegation, and he took the team to the Europa League final in Bucharest and then to beat the unbeatable beast at the Bernabéu. Something had changed.
Simeone accomplished what seemed impossible and won LaLiga two the two biggest clubs in the world and at the prime of Messi and Cristiano with a basic but realistic motto that thanks to an unstoppable competitive gene allowed them to win ‘game by game’ by protecting their goal and destroying the opposite through headers.
He completed that feat by then pronouncing a life motto at Neptuno: “If you believe and you work hard for it, then you can do it”. The people’s team that bothered so many had dared to question the untouchable duopoly. There was nothing left from that ‘Pupas’ status.
Atlético got used to win and to battle for the Champions League and grow as a club at an unstoppable pace. Now the best players wanted to wear the ‘Rojiblanca’. But he did so by a solid style and speech that has been around for a decade and that those from outside criticized because they were awaiting for Cholo and and his players to fall into the trap of believing that a historical power is blown off just like that.
Atlético played ugly, defended perfectly, barely conceded any goal and made the most out of their scoring chances. They bothered everyone because they were a winning machine that, aware of what they were, walked their path of protecting the people based on sacrifice, silence and work. Results prove that, even though most of them were 1-0.
Top talented players came, those with more quality than fight, and Cholo had a crossroads ahead of him that had paradoxically came up thanks to his work: how to mold pure talent that used to play in the best clubs towards the own sacrifice of having to battle everyday to just equalize them. With a radical change of style, but no mentality, pulled it off again: another league through different ideas.
Now the current season since the beginning proves clearly that Atlético had lost the way they used to be and Cholo does not how to take them back to where they belong to, to winning paths, either with the 2014 o the 2021 formula.
He wants to recover the defensive strength, but the guardians fail constantly. He wants to stand out offensively but there is no fluidity. He wants to be again the people’s team but they have stopped being it right when they thought that they are like Madrid and Barça, as many demanded them because they knew they will them fall.
Atlético and Simeone, their history, are in decomposition process for thinking that everything they have conquered in a decade they can disassemble the gear that has taken them here to become something they are not: “There are things that can be hidden…” and the results crisis is just a symptom of a way more serious problem: Atleti have lost their identity and they will not compete again until they get it back.
Main image: Twitter @Atleti.
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