Cerezo: Simeone loved at Atletico

By Dom Farrell 26 December 2016 248
Cerezo: Simeone loved at Atletico

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo is confident head coach Diego Simeone will remain with the club beyond the end of this season.

On the back of last season's agonising penalty shoot-out loss to rivals Real Madrid in the Champions League final, Simeone negotiated down his most recent contract extension at Atletico from 2020 to end in 2018.

Atleti's patchy form in LaLiga this term – they lie sixth and nine points off top at the mid-season break – and Simeone's stated desire to coach Inter at some stage is his career has led to mounting speculation that the Argentine could walk away at the end of the current campaign.

Nevertheless, Cerezo expects the revised contract to be honoured.

"Everyone can think and say what they want, but the only certain thing is that he is in Atletico and Atletico is with Cholo [Simeone]," he told AS.

"You have a contract in force and the contacts are in order. In addition, at Atletico when we want someone, we really love him. 

"Atletico are not half-hearted and we really want Cholo. Let the coach and the team work to make a great season."

Atleti will face Las Palmas in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey and are through to face Bayer Leverkusen in the same stage of the Champions League after topping a group featuring Bayern Munich.

"It has not been a spectacular start, but the recovery line will take us where we want to be," Cerezo said. "In the Champions League our performance has been impressive.

"We have not even reached the middle of the season. There is a lot left and teams have many ups and downs and are going through bad times. 

"We have already passed our [bad spell]. You have to recover those lost points."

Star forward Antoine Griezmann is without a LaLiga goal since October but Cerezo is backing the France international to turn his form around.

"Nothing has happened to him," he added. "The players have good and bad spells and now they are in bad shape.

"But the goals will come and they will recover their good streak. 

"The great players need the goals and to have great matches, and Griezmann will have them." 

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Dom Farrell