Where next for Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone?

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After Atletico Madrid's Champions League final defeat to bitterest of rivals Real Madrid on Saturday, manager Diego Simeone cut a disconsolate figure.

A man famous for his fiery temper, seemingly unending passion and desire to succeed, Simeone possessed none of his trademark ferocity upon addressing the media.

In fact, Simeone displayed almost none of the qualities that both he and his Atletico team have become synonymous with over the past few seasons. The emotion, the fervour, the absolute ability to refuse to acknowledge defeat. All were missing.


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In short, Simeone looked a man deflated. A man unsure for the first time in his career. A man defeated.

As he himself put it when asked how he felt, reaching two finals in three years and failing to win either is - for a man so accustomed to winning and so sure of his own ability to do so - exactly that, a failure.

This sentiment was also echoed in his answer to a question regarding his future at the Madrid-based club.

Normally so staunch in his stance that both he and the club are now, and always have been the right fit for each other, Simeone made it abundantly clear that for the first time, walking away from the club that he loves was becoming a serious option.

"I am thinking that I have to start thinking. It's a logical question for you to ask after a defeat like the one we've suffered today.

"We had the chance to become champions, we didn't take that chance. We need to continue working, I have to think things out on my part - that's what I'm doing now."

But were Simeone to walk away, what would come next for a man who has forged a reputation for being one of the game's true perennial winners?

Having been strongly linked to both the Manchester United and Chelsea jobs over the past 12 months, neither are now an option - with Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte having been chosen respectively.

Being a disciple of Atletico - having both played for and managed the club throughout his career - taking another job in his adopted homeland of Spain also appears an unlikely option at best.

In-between his spells at Atletico as a player, Simeone also spent time plying his trade in Italy, playing for both Internazionale and Lazio.

Whilst Lazio most likely lack the pedigree to attract a manager of Simeone's calibre, were Inter Milan to part ways with current manager Roberto Mancini over the next 12 months, helping to return another of his former clubs to their former glory might just represent a viable option.

There is also, of course, the option of taking an international job. A former midfield stalwart for Argentina - having amassed 106 caps for his country across a 14-year spell - this would certainly appear the most logical option.

Although Argentina already have a manager, former Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino at that, were they again to underperform at this summer's Copa America - and should Diego Simeone leave his post at Atletico Madrid - a reunion between the two might just be too tempting for either party to turn down.

After all, Argentina's last three major trophies - the 1991 and 1993 Copa America, as well as the 1992 Confederations Cup - all came whilst Simeone was a key member of the squad.

Taking into consideration all of the above, as well as Simeone's comments in the wake of Saturday's defeat, it also still remains a distinct possibility that he will continue fighting on at Atletico.

For a man as proud and fierce as Simeone, choosing to walk away in the aftermath of a cup final defeat to your greatest rivals might be too hard a pill to swallow.

After all, despite Atletico's inability to secure silverware this season, their spectacular title win in the 2013/2014 seasons remains fresh in the mind for many football fans around the world.

Seeing Simeone and his collection of anti-heroes go up against two of world football's true global giants, and beat them both at their own game, was enough to instantly and forever win a place in our hearts for the red-and-white wearing warriors who just never seemed to know when they were beaten.

Once again being given the chance to achieve the unachievable, and attain the ever-illusive Champions League title that Atletico have been so desperately chasing, might just be enough to persuade Simeone to stay at the club where he is so universally adored.

And were he to do so, don't go betting against him eventually achieving what has so cruelly evaded him over the past three seasons.

After all, second best will never be good enough for Diego Simeone.

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