Football

Simeone keen to stay at Atletico

Argentine coach Diego Simeone says he could stay at Atletico Madrid beyond his current contract, despite shortening it recently by two years until June 2018, in an interview published yesterday.

He told Spanish sports daily Marca: "It will be difficult to find a better team than Atletico in my future as a coach. So why not remain linked to a club I love?

"I have possibly found my place in the world, we will see."

In charge of Atletico since 2011, Simeone signed a contract in March 2015 that originally tied him to the club until June 2020.

But the 46-year-old, who has been linked to many of Europe's top clubs, including Paris St Germain, Arsenal and Inter Milan, reduced the deal to 2018, after talks with Atletico in September.

Simeone said that decision was in the best interests of the club, which he took to the Spanish league title in 2014 and to two of the last three Champions League finals.

BEST

"I believe it is the best situation which we found to continue being demanding of myself and, at the same time, think of what is best for the club," he said.

"If the club continue to want to count on us and, if it carries out the efforts it has been doing for this... we can possibly remain together," he added.

Atletico lost out on a first Champions League title to Real Madrid on penalties in May and finished just three points adrift of La Liga champions Barcelona.

Their form has stuttered this season and they find themselves in sixth place in La Liga with 28 points.

Atletico are not in league action again until Jan 7 as La Liga takes a winter break over the new year.

Meanwhile, holders Barcelona will face familiar rivals Athletic Bilbao in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey after yesterday's draw paired the sides together.

The first leg will be played on Jan 4 and the second leg on Jan 11. - AFP

la ligaatletico madrid