Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has reaffirmed his commitment to the club by saying he wants to lead them into their new stadium in 2017.
Simeone is under contract with Atletico until 2020 but he cast doubt on his future in May, immediately after the team’s defeat to Real Madrid on penalties in the Champions League final.
The Argentine coach has since stated he made those comments in the heat of the moment, although talk of his future has resurfaced following the team’s disappointing start to the season.
Atletico has drawn its first two games of the La Liga campaign, held by promoted Alaves and Leganes, and are already four points adrift of favourites Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Simeone, however, reiterated his commitment to the club, set to move from its Vicente Calderon ground to a new 67,000-seater stadium on the outskirts of the Spanish capital in August next year.
“We have a beautiful stadium we’re moving into next year and I hope to be here for that,” Simeone said on Wednesday at the launch of his autobiography, titled ‘Believe’.
“When I came here I was very optimistic about the club’s fortunes and I still am, and that’s why I’m here.
“I’m still transparent and we hope to work hard and improve on the start we made to the season, but apart from that I’m happy.”
Simeone is the longest-serving coach in La Liga, having taken over Atletico in December 2011.
He led the team to its first La Liga title in 18 years in 2014 and has also won the King’s Cup and the Europa League. Simeone has taken Atletico to two Champions League finals, losing out to Real Madrid on both occasions in 2014 and 2016.
As well as bringing silverware to the club, Simeone has forged a strong bond with his players.
Euro 2016 Golden Boot winner Antoine Griezmann, Atletico’s top scorer in the last two campaigns, recently said he called the coach before agreeing to sign a new contract with the club in the close season.
“I can’t hide that I really appreciated that call,” Simeone said.
“He knows that he’s at a marvellous club that is growing day by day and has given him the chance to be the player he is today.
“He has also got a coach who loves him. He’s destined to be among the best players in the world, alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.”