Diego Simeone walks fine line in volatile Champions League semifinal
Tuesday’s Champions League semifinal between Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich was chockfull of drama, and nobody encapsulated how high the stakes were than Atletico boss Diego Simeone.
The Argentine tactician has never been short of passion, and he let his emotions fly; getting into sideline dust-ups with both opponents and members of his staff. Simeone’s first tiff came against Bayern winger Franck Ribery, after Juanfran and Robert Lewandowski had an on-pitch incident.
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Simeone turned his attention toward the Bayern technical area, with Ribery apparently acting as peacemaker. Hands were placed on necks and handfuls of kits/suits were grabbed, and in the end cooler heads prevailed. But that spat took a back seat to the spectacle at the end of the match.
Clinging to the slimmest of advantages — his team down 2-1 in the match, but tied 2-2 on aggregate and owning the away-goal edge — Simeone was desperate to see things out.
A ball carried out of play as injury time ticked on, and presented the perfect opportunity for Simeone to use his final substitution and burn off precious seconds. Except Bayern acted quickly, and Atletico failed to make the substitution before play resumed.
This … did not sit well with Simeone, who felt it necessary to give his staff member a smack on the arm. The staffer, identified as Pedro Pablo Matesanz, is apparently responsible for submitting the substitution.
Yes, it was a tense match. But what if that had been the fourth official instead? Could anyone really count on Simeone to have had restraint in that situation?
We’re all for Simeone wearing his heart on his sleeve — it’s one of the main reasons we love him — but it might be time to reel it in a touch. Remember this: He’s already serving a three-match ban in La Liga (albeit for a more fluky reason).
Simeone’s passion certainly helped secure his team’s advancement to the Champions League final. Our only hope is that intensity won’t boil over and wind up costing him, and Atletico, somehow down the road.
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