Atlético

Saúl: "As long as Diego Simeone is here, I won't leave"

The Atlético midfielder spoke of the Argentinean's influence on his career and on the club and said he will remain as long as El Cholo does

Saúl: "As long as Diego Simeone is here, I won't leave"

Atlético Madrid midfielder Saúl Ñíguez has underlined Diego Simeone's towering influence at the club by promising he will not leave while the Argentine remains in charge.

The 21-year-old has developed into one of Simeone's most important players in the last two seasons, famously scoring a mesmeric winning goal against Bayern Munich last term.

Don't call Saúl

"As long as Simeone is here, no, I won't leave," Saúl told Club del Deportista magazine. "When a coach has faith in you as much as he has and gives you that confidence, it's vital."

Former Argentina midfielder Simeone has transformed Atlético's fortunes since taking charge of the ailing club in 2011, breaking Barcelona and Real Madrid's nine-year domestic stranglehold to win La Liga in 2014.

They also won the Europa League (2012) and the Copa del Rey (2013) and have also finished runner-up in two of the last three Champions League finals.

Griezmann assurances

Saúl is far from the only Atlético player to speak of the coach's influence, with France international Antoine Griezmann admitting in August he sought assurance Simeone would remain in charge before penning a new contract with the club.

Yet Simeone's iron grip on the club means Atlético could find themselves losing key personnel when he eventually decides to depart.

The 46-year-old recently reduced his contract with Atlético from 2020 to 2018, casting doubt on his long-term future there.

"For me and for Atlético it's the same: Simeone is everything," added Saúl. "The tranquillity he transmits to me has made me the player I am today on the pitch. It took a lot to win his confidence, but now I have it I have to keep fighting to the death for him."