After years of failed attempts, it seems Atletico Madrid have finally found some stability in the form of Diego Simeone.
The former midfielder left the capital as a player in 2005, and in that time, Atleti have been through six managers, as Carlos Bianchi, Jose Murcia, Javier Aguirre, Abel Resino, Quique Sanchez Flores and Gregoio Manzano all failed to bring sustained success to the club. But Simeone's return as manager has sparked their revival as one of the top clubs in Spain.
The recent announcement of his new four-year contract provides Los Colchoneros with a platform to build upon, and a hope that they can finally close the gap between themselves and city rivals Real Madrid.
Simeone has revitalised an Atleti side that were struggling under Manzano, and has now taken the team to Europa League and European Super Cup triumphs, a Copa Del Rey final and a current sit second place in La Liga – to say Simeone's reign has been a success would be an understatement.
And subsequently, his work hasn't gone unnoticed. Another of the Argentine's former clubs, Inter, were rumoured to be interested in bringing El Cholo, whilst Chelsea were also credited with an interest in the 42 year old.
As a result, Los Rojiblancos have managed to extend Simeone's contract until 2017, and the man himself agrees that the future is bright for the club.
“This renewal is a success, as the club continues to build on what we have been working on for the last year and a month. We’re generating a balance from that stability. Institutions grow based absolutely on the talent, the ability, the commitment and the responsibility of the players and because of this, we can build an even better Atlético.”
“We will keep playing match by match, growing one step at a time and don’t confuse us with the success, because maintaining the balance of success is difficult. If we succeed, we’ll surely grow because we have strength, energy and ability in all areas. This fills me with pride, in the face of what we can build.”
But as with previous Atleti teams, the success hinges on a striker. Radamel Falcao finds himself in a similar position to Fernando Torres and Sergio Aguero, in that Europe's top clubs are circling, waiting for him to leave Madrid.
Simeone will be hoping and praying that they can keep hold of their Colombian goal machine, as his predatory instincts have been a major factor in the clubs success over the last year. The imminent qualification for the Champions League serves as a major lure for Falcao to stay, and it would be another indication that Atletico are moving in the right direction.
With a crucial fixture against Real Madrid on the horizon, the Argentine Coach can clinch 2nd place in La Liga, Atletico's highest finish since returning to Spain's top flight in 2002.
His achievements so far have been impressive, and the securing of his services for the foreseeable future makes it likely that Atleti will go from strength to strength under Simeone.