Radio Marca had the news first, reporting that Gabi will replace Mono Burgos — Simeone’s long-time number-two — from next season as the Argentine prepares to begin his own managerial career. Gabi’s agent Manolo García Quilón denied the former captain would be leaving Xavi Hernández’s Al-Sadd for Atlético, but his contract there ends June 30. The fact that Gabi has not yet received his full coaching certification will not deter Simeone from welcoming him back on board.
Atlético journalist Tania Martín independently reported on what seems to be an impending deal, saying Atleti called Gabi to initiate the move — and the 36-year-old told his current club that he would not continue past his contract’s expiration date. He has made 55 appearances for Al-Sadd over two seasons in Qatar and has donned the captain’s band for the side.
Gabi’s return would be a wonderful sight and could have strong future implications. If the lifelong rojiblanco completes his coaching courses in the next year-plus, he could be first in line to replace Simeone — that is, if the 50-year-old decides to walk away when his contract expires in 2022.