ATLÉTICO

Simeone: "What I said in Milan was in the heat of the moment"

El Cholo spoke publicly for the first time since his post-match comments after the Champions League final on 28 May: "Suffering is part of the self-improvement process".

Simeone: "What I said in Milan was in the heat of the moment"

Diego Simeone has spoken. There's been no word from the Atlético de Madrid coach since the post-match press conference following the Champions League final on 28 May, when he hinted that he might not continue with the Rojiblancos. But El Cholo seems to have got over the disappointment of the defeat to Real Madrid, as he made an appearance at the Four Seasons Hotel in Buenos Aires today, to present his new book, 'Creer. El desafío de superarse siempre' (Believe: The challenge of always overcoming adversity). After experiencing two painful defeats in the Champions final to Atleti's city rivals, Simeone explained how he deals with the emotional aftermath of an important defeat and why his post-match words in Milan should be taken with a pinch of salt: "After the final I was talking in the heat of the moment - we Argentineans are a bit like that. It's not the other team's fault for beating you - that's something you learn with time and which I learned a long time ago. Remembering the pain and the suffering is part of the process you need to overcome these setbacks".

El Cholo only had good things to say about his players and the team, who ended up losing the final on penalties: "A very strong group has been formed at Atlético, you won't get to this team's level with talent alone. You won't find a better team than Atlético, they're a great group of players". 

Simeone explained how comfortable he feels being back home, which is one of the reasons why he decided to launch the new book in Buenos Aires: "The book contains my reflections on football and life. Argentina is the root of everyone for me, I always come back here before it was here that I lived through everything. Argentina is still my own special place in the world". During the presentation, he also gave a few examples of his own philosophical take on life and the Beatiful Game: "To reach an objective, you need patience and perseverance; you need to be willing to learn, you have to look around you and listen. Being a leader means knowing how to get along with others and give opportunities - it's also about believing. If you need to say something, say it in that moment because that moment will be gone and won't come back. Once you make a decision, it's very difficult to go back on it". 

To end, there was a curious anecdote from his childhood : "When I was 5 years old, my Dad bought me a little fort with toy cowboys and indians and set it all up so we could have a game. That was the equivalent of the PlayStation back then. I won 1-0, narrowly - just the way I like it. Football's the same too, you need to know how to play without the ball".