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Dublin: 6 °C Thursday 13 December, 2018

Simeone rules out Everton job, promising 'a couple of years at least' at Atletico

The Toffees have been linked with an audacious move to bring the Atletico Madrid boss to Goodison Park, but he insists he is going nowhere.

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone.
Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone.
Image: Sergio Lopez

DIEGO SIMEONE HAS ruled out the prospect of leaving Atletico Madrid and taking over as manager of Everton.

The Premier League club have been linked with an audacious attempt to bring the Argentine to Goodison Park to replace Ronald Koeman, who was sacked last month.

Simeone admitted he was close to leaving Atletico after their Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in 2016 and there has been speculation this could be his last season in the Spanish capital.

However, the 47-year-old insists he plans to see out at least the majority of his contract at the Wanda Metropolitano, which expires in 2020.

“As I’ve said on various occasions, my future is tied to Atletico Madrid and they are going to have to put up with me for the next couple of years at least. I’m absolutely sure about that,” he told a news conference.

Simeone also stressed star forward Antoine Griezmann is committed to improving his form at the club and is not distracted by transfer rumours.

Reports in France have suggested he has agreed to a €90 million switch to Barcelona at the end of the season, and the league leaders’ head coach, Ernesto Valverde, suggested on Friday a pursuit of Griezmann was not out of the question.

Talk of the 26-year-old’s unrest has been fuelled by the sight of him walking away from matchday team photos prematurely but Simeone insists he is not behaving any differently to normal.

“To be honest with you, he’s fine,” he said. “It’s a difficult situation – the other day, they took the team photo just as he was leaving to take up his position on the pitch. It makes it seem that he doesn’t want to be in the photo. I can understand journalists’ take on it – but he always does that.

“He’s the most skilful player we have the most important player we have in attack. What I see in Griezmann is enthusiasm. The team is enjoying a good league campaign but we haven’t seen Griezmann’s best moment yet. And that’s what I’m really looking forward to.

“All that I am concerned about right now is making sure my lads are filled with hope, drive and enthusiasm. As for the rumours, they’re part and parcel of the game.

“There’ll always be rumours like we had with [Radamel] Falcao, Diego Costa, [Fernando] Torres, Diego Ribas… the media will always talk about the high-profile players.”

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