Atletico Madrid hires Gregorio Simeone as coach

Atletico Madrid has hired former Argentina midfielder Diego

Simeone as its coach to replace the fired Gregorio Manzano.

Atletico said Friday that Simeone signed a contract through the

end of the 2012-13 season.

Manzano was fired Thursday, a day after Atletico was eliminated

from the Copa del Rey by third-tier Albacete.

Simeone is a former Atletico player who also led Estudiantes and

River Plate to Argentine league titles. His appointment has been

expected since he quit as coach of Racing Club this week.

Atletico has struggled since the exit of South American strikers

Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan in the offseason. It is 10th in the

Spanish league and four points above the relegation zone.