Diego Simeone moved fast on Monday to rule out a move to Chelsea in the summer. He referred to Atletico Madrid as a family, himself as the father and said it was "not easy to leave Atletico." That's all beautiful when taken at face value but what Simeone was hinting at is that he is building something special at Atletico and he can't walk away from a plan that is still in its infancy.
The "family" quotes were the ones to garner all the attention and that was the golden nugget for reporters but what is more important in this instance is the context. The most important thing that Simeone said was, "We have a potential that no one has. Oblak, Giménez, Vietto, Carrasco, Óliver, Koke, Correa, Saúl, Lucas, Thomas ... 10 young players and the veterans are at the perfect age."
Diego Simeone is in the process of building a team that can compete with Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain, and against Juventus, Bayern Munich and the rest in Europe. Why would Cholo build a team of youngsters, invest so much time in developing a system of play and whipping his side into shape, padding it full of Argentinian talent -- Augusto Fernandez and Matias Kranevitter currently en route to Atletico -- who he loves and trusts in order to step a side at the first offer and move to a foreign country to take over a team that lacks any real form of stability over the course of their ten years of relative success.
Simeone has proven that he is different during his time with Atletico. He has a way with his players that few can comprehend and even departed players who could never make it at the Calderon speak highly of the "father" of the club. Players struggle when they leave the club and often want to return. Simeone brought back Fernando Torres, a man who has moved beyond cliche and into the club's folklore just like Simeone is aiming to do. He knows he is on the cusp and would prefer to stick around and win a Champions League or another La Liga title with a club where he is truly loved. He too wants to move beyond cliche and set himself apart.
Simeone's aim has always been to turn Atletico from a selling club into the kind of club the best players in the world want to move to. He hates the control Real Madrid and Barcelona have on Spanish football and he is intent on being over the first team to break it up for a prolonged period of time. For such a principled man, how would it look if he jumped ship at the first sign of one of the "bigger clubs" calling for him.
While the record books don't say it, and Real Madrid ultimately won the Champions League in 2014, Diego Simeone sees being the best in Europe as a real possibility. It might all have been different if that 93rd minute goal never went in off the head of Sergio Ramos but Cholo has unfinished business at the Calderon.
Simeone might get an offer he can't refuse and things change on a weekly basis in modern football but my bet is that he will be with Atletico Madrid for the next three to five years unless he wins a Champions League, wrestles even more power from Barcelona and Real Madrid and sees this young team fulfil the potential they have shown and Simeone sees in them. He has Matias Kranevitter and Augusto Fernandez arriving at the end of the month and he is again building to dominate in Europe like they almost did in 2014.
It's not easy to leave Atletico Madrid and Simeone knows that better than anyone.