Effort is non-negotiable – that’s the secret to Diego Simeone’s success. Over the past few years, the man known as EL Cholo has no only managed to break the Real Madrid – Barcelona duopoly, but has managed to do so, with a budget that pales in comparison to that of LaLiga’s top dogs.
Throughout his playing career, Simeone was known to be a tenacious and complete two-way midfielder, who was capable both of winning balls and starting attacking plays, also scoring goals himself. He was primarily known for his leadership, technique, tactical versatility, intelligence, strength, stamina and work-rate.
As a player, effort was non-negotiable
While his career path and his teams reflect this maxim, there is also one single defining moment in his coaching career to date – and that is December 2011, when he took over at Atletico Madrid.
Much of Simeone’s success as a coach has been down to his ability to get the best out of his players.
Radamel Falcao excelled under him at both River and in Spain, Diego Costa and Thibaut Courtois went on to become global superstars, while Diego Godin, Juanfran, Antoine Griezmann and Koke have all improved at Atletico in terms of performance levels.
He also insists on building team camaraderie without forcing the issue. So, for example, at meal times he wants his squad sitting at one vast table “face to face”, rather than divided into groups on smaller tables. His man- management has not only brought out the best in his established players, but also helped youngsters to break through.
His touchline antics often stirs up emotion, and when playing at the Vicente Calderon, El Cholo is often seen waving his arms to the crowd, looking for that proverbial 12th man to spur his team on.
Effort is non-negotiable, even when it comes to the fans.
To lovers of English football, Simeone will always be the men involved in THAT tackle with David Beckham at France‘98. His sheer nuisance in the middle of the park had clearly annoyed the then golden – boy of world football, which saw him red carded as the three lions were bundled out after a penalty shoot – out loss in the round of 16.
Almost 2 decades later, and with a Europa League, a Supercopa, Copa del Rey and LaLiga, as well as a runners – up medal in the Champions League, Simeone has proven that there is method to his madness.