Atletico Madrid sits fourth in the La Liga table, winless in the Champions League, and in peril in the Copa del Rey, yet none of that troubles the club president.
Critics have come in droves in a difficult season for Atleti and manager Diego Simeone, and while the public might point fingers, Madrid president Enrique Cerezo is fully backing the boss. “I want to say this in a loud voice,” he told Spanish publication Marca. “Simeone is untouchable at Atletico Madrid, for the players, for the directors and for the supporters.”
Cerezo followed up by saying criticism of the head man “is not allowed here.”
Simeone has been wildly successful at Atletico Madrid, taking the club to new heights and turning his back on offers from more traditionally giant clubs. Yet this season has proven tumultuous. Despite what Cerezo referred to as the club’s best-ever squad, he also shrugged his shoulders as to why the season has proven difficult.
“I keep saying so. We are playing a game, and games are the way they are. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.”
Madrid sits fourth in La Liga, level with Real Madrid on points but behind on goal differential. They are eight points back of leaders Barcelona after just 11 matches.
The Champions League has proven even more baffling, with Madrid in a distant third in Group C after a trio of draws, including two against Azerbaijani minnows Qarabak FK despite holding a man advantage at various times in both matches. With remaining games against Chelsea and Roma and a four-point deficit, it’s increasingly unlikely that Madrid will be destined for the drop to the Europa League, or worse.
Even in the Copa del Rey 2nd round, Madrid suffered a 1-1 draw in the first leg at third-tier side Elche and now come home needing a win or 0-0 draw to advance.
The club has suffered just a single defeat in any competition this season through 16 total matches, but they continue to settle for the minimum, owning just six wins in comparison with nine draws.
Nevertheless, the club president remains true to the course. “We could have scored four against Roma and then we had 14,000 chances against Qarabag,” he said. “It’s not just a problem specific to Atletico that players can be more or less clinical, but it’s a problem for a lot of elite clubs.
“I keep saying we have a fantastic squad, a wonderful coach and a phenomenal fanbase. That’s enough for me.”
One must admire his steadfastness and ability not to panic, appreciative of what the club has despite a modern environment where team management is often reactive and quick to act.