Diego Simeone has dropped a major hint that he will not leave Atletico Madrid in the summer, despite growing speculation he is Chelsea’s No 1 choice to become the club’s next permanent manager.
Chelsea installed Guus Hiddink as interim manager over the weekend following last week’s sacking of Jose Mourinho, with the Dutchman starting work with the Blues on Monday after taking a watching brief during the 3-1 win over Sunderland at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
However, it remains to be seen who will be in charge next season, and Simeone is thought to be one of the candidates in Roman Abramovich’s thinking. Pep Guardiola is another manager linked with the position, after he announced he will be leaving Bayern Munich at the end of this campaign.
“Why can’t I be here longer?” Simeone said in El Pais on Monday when asked about leaving Atletico. “Why did I choose a five-year contract? Because I see a club that is ‘virgin’ and Miguel Ángel [Gil Marín, the chief executive] and Enrique [Cerezo, the president] have the ability to open up new sources to strengthen in. It’s not easy to leave Atlético.”
Simeone added: “More than a team we are a family, and we are a real family. Obviously we have internal problems, there are players who get angry and who will get angry because they don’t play. I am the father and the grandfather is a role for Miguel Ángel Gil and Enrique Cerezo.
“We have a potential that no one has. Oblak, Giménez, Vietto, Carrasco, Óliver, Koke, Correa, Saúl, Lucas, Thomas … 10 young players and the veterans are at the perfect age.”
Atletico are currently joint leaders of La Liga, although they lost their third match of the season on Sunday night, with their captain Gabi sent off at Málaga, who scored a late winner through their striker Charles.