Diego Simeone’s reward for masterminding the exit of Champions League favourites Barcelona is a semi-final clash against the Catalan club’s market successors.
Atletico Madrid welcome Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich to the Vicente Calderon Stadium as 23/10 outsiders for the first leg of the last-four tie. It’s a tag they’ve outperformed often under the Argentine.
Under their fiery boss, Colchoneros have embarked on a path of progression that has seen them rise from plucky underdogs into dark-horse status before becoming genuine contenders on both the domestic and continental scene.
Understandably keen to tie their brilliant boss down, Atleti handed Simeone a new contract last March that will keep him at the club until 2020.
But if the former midfielder manages to achieve the double that’s very much on the cards this term, he’ll be one of the hottest managerial properties on the planet this summer. Possibly even above free-agent Jose Mourinho.
The Red-and-Whites are three games away from winning the Champions League and sit level on points with Barca at the top of La Liga with three games to play.
Both Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United are rumoured to be in the market for a new touchline guru this off-season, with the latter pursuing Mourinho more aggressively than a Tinder user on a dry spell.
But would the Portuguese be the best fit for a club still experiencing the transitional period that was triggered by Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure?
Mourinho showed when things went awry at Chelsea this season that he isn’t the ideal man to rebuild in a crisis. He also has no history of taking over a club at a low ebb and building them back up. Simeone does.
Atletico had fallen away from the top-four La Liga spots in two consecutive seasons before the former Argentina international took the helm mid-way through the 2011/12 campaign.
He steered the club to a fifth-place finish that season and hasn’t been outside the top three in any full season since.
The side have also developed into formidable European opponents under his tutelage, winning the Europa League in that 2011/12 campaign and reaching the final of the Champions League two years later.
An ability to get teams punching above their weight would be perfect for United, who have introduced a raft of young players into the side under the maligned Louis van Gaal this season.
Should the Red Devils cut ties with the Dutchman as expected, then Simeone, rather than Mourinho, should top their list of replacements.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.