Simeone’s heartfelt open letter to Luis Aragonés: “Atleti was your life...”
The Argentinean wrote an open letter to Luis Aragonés, who he will overtake later today as the coach to have overseen the most games in Atlético history.
Tonight’s league clash between Atlético and Sevilla be will a special moment for Diego Simeone. Not only will the Argentinean be facing one of his former clubs at the Metropolitano, his name will be written into club history as the Atlético coach to have overseen the most games in history. He will overtake an Atleti legend, Luis Aragonés. El Sabio, who passed away in 2014, was at the helm for 612 games during five different spells (1974-78, 1979-80, 1982-87, 1991-93 and 2001-03). Simeone pulled level with that figure in last week’s derby and will take charge of his 613th game as Atlético coach later today. To mark the occasion, El Cholo wrote an open letter to Luis, thanking him for showing him the way and declaring that he feels exactly the same way his mentor did about Atleti.
Simeone’s open letter to Luis
You know more than anyone that I am not someone who likes these kinds of things - showing my feelings in public like this, but today, I want to do it. I want to do it to tell you that I am beginning this letter almost with tears in my eyes and with a huge feeling of emotion, but more than anything with respect.
It’s hard to believe that tomorrow [Saturday], I will overtake your number of games: 612 - a figure that today, we still share leading our beloved Atleti. It will be a day that I am sure I will never forget. Like that other day which I will never forget - when we were chatting during our time together at Sevilla, you as the coach and me as a player, I mentioned to you that Atlético Madrid wanted to sign me. Your reply came straight away: “So what are you waiting for?” Since that day, almost 29 years have passed Luis, but even then I could sense the love and passion that you had for this club and that, thanks to people like you, many, many others feel the same way.
Tomorrow I’ll be back sitting on that bench which has brought us so much happiness and joy. I think about it and it still doesn’t seem real, but I can tell you, with great pride, that I feel immensely privileged to be able to follow in your footsteps, on the path we share. I would like you to know that during all of these past few years, I have tried to give the best I have to give.
You know me well and know that my sense of responsibility and commitment could not be greater. I do it, and will continue doing it full of hope and with the greatest respect for this club and for all of the Atlético fans who have given me so much affection and continue to do so. Because we are lucky to belong to a family, the Atlético family, which for us is a way of life. I will never be able to fully express how thankful I am to them.
During all of this time, I have been extremely fortunate Luis. I was lucky enough to have always had players who have shown hunger, commitment, dedication and above all, they have believed in our idea, followed it and that has allowed them and the club to grow. You and I both know that that is one of the most difficult things to achieve in this profession.
I am also very fortunate to have had colleagues alongside me who have made me a better coach; you know just how important it is to be able to count on a good coaching team - like the one that has always accompanied me. And all of those people inside our club that have identified with our project and who enrich our work every day.
And of course, none of this would have been possible without the determination and faith of Miguel Ángel Gil, Enrique Cerezo and the rest of the directors who accompany and support us. Luis, my philosophy about the importance of a strong support system is stronger than ever, because it is all thanks to them that we are still here today.
So dear Luis, the values of people like you, and so many others who have left a legacy at this club, is what inspires us to continue competing and giving our part to the cause. I know that Atleti was your life and you know that Atleti is mine too; and that is why I don’t want to this moment to go unnoticed, because I know that you are the only person who can understand what a day like this means to me.