As the Ballon d’Or and Coach of the Year nominees were announced it was the latter that rasied more than a few eyebrows and tempers amongst Atletico Madrid fans. Last season Los Rojiblancos were left scratching their heads as Diego Simeone was left off the list, whilst others who had also only managed for six months were included. Surely, they thought, it wouldn’t happen again after 2012-13’s work. They were wrong.
The shortlist has seen Arsene Wenger, Vicente del Bosque, Jose Mourinho and seven others nominated but once again the Argentine has been left out. This year Cholo Simeone has taken Atletico to third in the League. They are currently sitting top of their Champions League group after three straight wins. They also won the Copa del Rey in May, beating Real Madrid for the first time in 25 games. This season they are just a point off leaders Barcelona. They may have lost the Spanish Supercopa but they did so on away goals, drawing both games against Barca. Still those achievements have been ignored, and despite being done on the tightest of budgets.
In the summer of 2012 Simeone tried in vain to sign Diego Ribas but with the club committed to repaying its taxes and other debts, they couldn’t afford to sign the Brazilian. The club tried to get former player Jose Manuel Jurado but couldn’t come up with the €5m necessary to sign him. It was a similar case with Michu. In the summer of 2012 Atletico spent less than €2m, and they still finished third in the League. This summer they tried to get Diego again but his wages were too high. Still Cholo has worked his magic and has seen his side fly out of the traps. Once again people are questioning whether Los Colchoneros can break up Barca and Real Madrid’s hold at the top. That in itself is a great achievement and surely worth something but it has been overlooked. Simeone doesn’t seem too bothered though.
“I just think about the work I have to do with my team and my players. I work to do the best for the club. It doesn’t surprise me that I’m not on the list,” said the Argentine before the Granada game this midweek.
If he is telling the truth, he is the only one not surprised. Whilst his Press Officer hasn’t said anything officially, on Twitter he has retweeted some of the thousands of messages calling for Cholo’s inclusion on the list. Enrique Cerezo also voiced his opinion saying that Cholo was the ‘sensation of Europe’ and expressed his surprise at the shortlist of names. Perhaps though, Simeone being ignored may not be entirely bad for Atletico and its fans, as it will keep preying eyes away.
Simeone isn’t the only Coach to be passed over. There is also a strong case for the inclusion of former Real Sociedad Coach Philippe Montanier who guided his side into the Champions League in style. Some say that FIFA see this as a popularity contest rather than an evaluation of real work and the fact that both men were ignored further strengthens that argument.