Atletico Madrid hires Simeone as new coach

Atletico Madrid has hired former Argentina midfielder Diego

Simeone as its new coach to replace the fired Gregorio Manzano.

Atletico said Friday that Simeone has agreed to a contract until

the end of the 2012-13 season.

”The Argentine coach accepted the club’s offer on Thursday to

take over for the rest of the season and the next,” Atletico said

in a statement. ”He’ll arrive on Monday to take charge of the

team.”

Simeone, who played for Atletico during its last

championship-winning season in 1996, will be officially presented

on Tuesday.

Manzano was fired on 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 earlier this week,

even before Mazano was fired.

Atletico has struggled since the exit of South American strikers

Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan in the offseason, sitting 10th in

the Spanish league and four points above the relegation zone.