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Atletico Madrid must retain ambition to keep Simeone

Estadio Vicente Calderón (4)” (CC BY 2.0) by  daniel0685 

Atletico Madrid saw their dreams of Champions League glory crushed by their bitter rivals Real Madrid for the second time in three years.

Diego Simeone’s men battled past Barcelona and Bayern Munich to reach the final to once again face off against the Galacticos, who had denied them victory in 2014.

Sergio Ramos put Zinedine Zidane’s side ahead, but Yannick Carrasco sent the game into extra-time with a late strike, even after Antoine Griezmann had missed a second-half penalty.

Neither team could find a breakthrough in the additional 30 minutes, sending the game to penalties.

Seven men were successful from the spot before Juanfran struck the post, which allowed Cristiano Ronaldo to fire home the winning kick to secure a second European crown in three years for Real.

As a result of his side’s failure, Simeone was said to be considering his future at the club, although the latest Champions League news suggests that he is eyeing a move for Chelsea striker Diego Costa, hinting that he will remain at the Vicente Calderon.

The Argentine has done an incredible job in Madrid, leading the club to their first La Liga triumph in 18 years in the 2013/14 campaign, breaking Barcelona and Real’s stranglehold at the top of the division.

Atletico came within striking distance of Luis Enrique’s men in the title race last season, only to see their hopes dashed in the penultimate game of the campaign in a 2-1 defeat to Levante.

Simeone has made Atletico an equal partner alongside Barca and Real in the hunt for the La Liga title as well as a force on the continent, but he faces the constant problem of seeing his side picked apart during summer transfer windows.

Arda Turan, Toby Alderweireld, Mario Mandzukic and Costa are among the names to have left the club for big money, forcing them back into the transfer market to bolster their squad.

Madrid have had great success replacing their star players as Griezmann, Carrasco have become world-class operators along with the rise of young players Koke, Saul Niguez and Jose Gimenez.

It is a testament to the managerial skill of Simeone that he has ingrained new talent with his current crop of players as well as developing his young players into high-quality individuals while maintaining a strong team ethos.

Once again this summer Atletico will be tested with offers for their stars, with Saul the latest star to be linked with a switch away from the Vicente Calderon.

Should the 21-year-old leave the club, it will be up to Atletico to replace him with another high-calibre player in the middle of the park.

Law of averages suggests that Simeone’s men may eventually strike out on replacing their top talent, which may affect their performances in the Primera Division and on the continent.

The next few months are important time in the future of Atletico in order to retain the services of arguably the best manager in the world.

They must continue to show ambition by retaining their core players, especially Saul and Koke, and continue adding solid players around them in their attempt to keep pace with the lavish spending of Barca and Real at the top.

Should they continue in that vein, it may be enough to bring further chances of La Liga titles and perhaps finally the Champions League crown that the club deserves.

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