In-demand Argentinian coach pledges commitment to Atletico Madrid.
Diego Simeone has confirmed he will stay with Atletico Madrid, after being linked with the Argentina vacancy following the resignation of Alejandro Sabella.
It was confirmed on Tuesday that Sabella was to leave his post with the World Cup runners-up and Simeone, who enjoy who led Atletico to the Spanish league title last season, has been mentioned as a possible replacement.
But he said he felt an obligation to remain with the champions.
“I wasn’t aware of Sabella’s decision to leave the Argentina team,” Simeonesaid.
“He did a great job and I wish him well. I have a commitment to Atletico that I made long ago.
“This is the club that opened the gateway to Europe for me and helped me grow as a coach.
“I’m very involved and I want to pay back Atletico’s commitment. I’m focused on Atletico and not thinking of Argentina.
“Besides, no one has spoken to me and we’re talking about assumptions. The Argentina team would be a place I would love to go, but now I’m Atletico.”
Sabella, who guided Argentina to the World Cup final, has stepped down after three years in charge.
“I have spoken with Sabella, but I will keep to myself what he said. If a girlfriend does not love you, you cannot change her mind,” Argentine Football Association president Julio Grondona explained.
The fifty-nine-year-old hinted at an exit two weeks ago, when he said: “You have to fill the energy tank which sometimes gets empty. I have to think if I’m in condition to give 100 per cent”.
Media reports place Jose Pekerman, who steered Colombia to the quarter-finals in Brazil and was in charge of Argentina at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, among the favourites to succeed Sabella.
Gerardo Martino, who coached Barcelona last season and has therefore worked closely with Messi and Argentina’s midfield general Javier Mascherano, is also among the front runners.
He has World Cup experience as Paraguay coach in South Africa in 2010.