Atletico Madrid fans have been rocked by the news that the club’s talismanic coach, Diego Simeone, has reduced his contract at the Vicente Calderon by two years.
The Argentine coach put pen-to-paper on a new five-year contract with Atletico in March 2015 - keeping him tied to the club until 2020 - but the Spanish press have today reported that Simeone’s deal will now expire in 2018 instead.
This has prompted speculation that Simeone - as well as the club’s star players, including Antoine Griezmann - could leave Atleti over the next couple of seasons.
Simeone is widely regarded as one of the best coach’s in world football and would not be short of potential suitors if he decided to leave the Calderon within the next two years.
The 46-year-old came close to leaving the Spanish club in the summer, following Atletico’s gut-wrenching defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League final, but was eventually convinced to stay by club officials.
Torres reacts to Simeone reports
Reacting to today’s reports about his manager, Fernando Torres told AS: "It is an unreal hypothesis.
"Let's be real. We are one month into the season and this is a very important year for us. We want to grow after a very good season with a very complicated final.
"We are not going to get distracted thinking about what could happen nine months or a year from now.
"We aren't going to create obstacles for ourselves. I have no idea if those reports are true or not.
"What he said after Milan [Champions League final loss], it was tough on all of us. But it makes sense that each one of us express ourselves.
"He said what he felt and it didn't change anything between all of us. It should never be wrong to speak from one's heart. We are very happy that he has decided to stay, he is the fundamental base in this Atleti team.
"We want this year to be different. We want to keep growing after a great year."
Atletico have to hold on to Simeone
Losing Simeone has the potential to be a catastrophic blow to Atletico.
The retired midfielder has transformed the whole mindset of the club since his appointment in 2011.
Under Simeone, Atletico have won La Liga (for the first time since 1996), the Copa del Rey, the Europa League and reached the Champions League final twice.
No wonder Torres and the Atleti supporters are concerned by today’s headlines.
Will Atletico Madrid still be competitive once Diego Simeone leaves the club? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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