Football: Coach Diego Simeone hints that he may leave Atletico after Champions League heartbreak

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone looks dejected after the penalty shootout during the Champions League final against Real Madrid.
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone looks dejected after the penalty shootout during the Champions League final against Real Madrid. PHOTO: REUTERS

MILAN • A downbeat Diego Simeone did not confirm whether he wanted to continue as Atletico Madrid coach on Saturday after suffering a second agonising Champions League final defeat by Real Madrid in three years.

Simeone, who has won every major trophy with Atletico in his 41/2 years in charge apart from the Champions League, cast his future at the club into doubt when asked if he had thought about resigning.

"I have to think about that," he said. "I feel proud of my players. They've given everything that they have. What is clear to me is that nobody remembers the losers. Losing two finals is a failure. This cycle for me at Atletico, two finals in three years, is actually a marvellous achievement, but I am not happy with what I have achieved."

His Real counterpart Zinedine Zidane, on the other hand, appears to have cemented his hero status at the Bernabeu and his immediate future in leading the Spanish giants to their 11th European Cup.

The former France great, who inherited an unhappy team from Rafael Benitez less than five months ago, has proved to be a great pragmatist as a coach. He stressed on the eve of the final that his team's plan was to "run, run and run".

With Cristiano Ronaldo clearly not match fit, Real's win owed more to the gutsy determination of defensive midfielder Casemiro and man-of-the-match Sergio Ramos than the flair players.

"There is a very good feeling between us and Zidane, he has brought happiness, hope, humility and hard work," Ramos said.

Zidane added: "What I've brought to Real is my positive attitude. I believe in hard work, work is more important than quality."

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 30, 2016, with the headline 'Simeone hints that he may leave Atletico'. Print Edition | Subscribe