Atletico Madrid have hired
former Argentina captain Diego Simeone as coach to replace the
sacked Gregorio Manzano as the La Liga club seek to get their
Champions League qualification bid back on track.
The 42-year-old Simeone, who quit Argentine side Racing Club
on Tuesday, had accepted an offer to take charge of the team for
the rest of this season and one more campaign, Atletico said in
a statement on their website.
A fan favourite during two stints playing for Madrid's
second club, he is due arrive in Madrid on Monday and be
presented to the media on Tuesday at Atletico's Vicente Calderon
stadium, they added.
Atletico's unpopular board finally put the embattled Manzano
out of his misery on Thursday when they sacked the 55-year-old
after half a season in charge following a humiliating King's Cup
elimination by third-tier Albacete.
Atletico are 10th in La Liga with 19 points from 16 matches
and there is widespread discontent among fans about the way the
heavily-indebted club are being run.
They underwent a sweeping restructuring in the close season,
with forwards Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan moving on and
striker Radamel Falcao and midfielders Diego and Arda Turan
arriving along with Manzano.
However, an erratic campaign, including a 5-0 league
drubbing at Barcelona and Wednesday's Cup debacle, signalled the
end of Manzano's second stint as coach.
Atletico lost 1-0 at home to Albacete to go out 3-1 on
Chief executive Miguel Angel Gil Marin told As sports daily
on Friday that Simeone was the right man to restore the club's
"Above all we think he can achieve the vital goal of
finishing in the top four," and qualifying for the Champions
League, he said.
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