Unprofessional Foul


December 23, 2015

Letter to Simeone

The headline reads "Simeone is all heart".

The headline reads “Simeone is all heart”.

In the wake of José Mourinho’s sacking, the rumor mill is churning out claims that Diego “El Cholo” Simeone is the front-runner to take over at Chelsea in the summer. Hold on just a second; I have my own plans for Simeone’s future career move and I’ve decided to write him a letter.

Let’s just assume he can read English and is a UF regular.

Dear Cholo,

As you probably know by now, it’s only a matter of time until Roman Abramovich backs a big blue truck full of jet black pomade to your front door in the hopes you will move to London. On the surface, this may seem like a great idea. Lots of money. A new professional challenge. All that money. The alluring glamour of the English Premier League (suck it, Barclays). The money.

Let’s be honest. We both know if I prick your finger, you bleed Atletico red. If I dig a little deeper, you’ve got Racing Club in your bones (as an Independiente fan, I try not to hold that against you). But your heart? Your heart beats for La Selección: The Argentine national team.

You earned 106 caps for La Albiceleste and won back-to-back Copa América titles, among other achievements. More importantly, everybody knows you were Argentina’s boss in the nineties. Even when Gabriel Batistuta was scoring bags of goals and a suspiciously fit Diego Maradona returned from a drug suspension to steal all the headlines and attention (only to be suspended again), you were there in central midfield, making tackles, winning balls, keeping the defense in line and urging your teammates to give every last ounce for their country.

Every great team has a Simeone. In your playing days, Brazil had Dunga. France had Didier Deschamps. England had Paul Scholes(?). These days, Germany has Bastian Schweinsteiger. Argentina has Javier Mascherano.

Cholo, you were the Mascherano of my youth. If social media existed in the nineties, we would have #CholoFacts instead of #MascheFacts. Remember the assist to Batistuta in 1993 to win the Copa América? How about that playoff against Australia to qualify for USA 1994? I stayed up all night to catch that away game in Sydney. Remember when you got David Beckham sent off in France? That was awesome.

Enough reminiscing. Let’s get to the point. I need you to take the Argentina gig this summer after “Tata” Martino inevitably delivers an underwhelming appearance at the Copa América Centenario (let’s not mention ).

I can’t watch another scoreless knockout round match that goes to penalties. I can’t watch manager after manager wring one solitary goal out of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Gonzalo Higuain, Carlos Tevez, et al. Jose Pekerman came up short in Germany. Maradona put on a clown show in South Africa. Sergio Batista failed at home. Alejandro Sabella seemed to have things figured out until they got to Brazil and it nearly took a miracle to reach the final, scoring just twice in 450 minutes of play. Now there’s Martino, who seems to be delivering more of the same.

I believe you can do better, Cholo. You can deliver the title and glory every Argentina fan has been waiting more than two decades to see. You can lift the trophy over your head in Moscow while sky blue and white confetti rains down from the stands. Picture the massive victory parade on Avenida Nueve de Julio, and the lasting joy and tearful gratitude of a nation that lives and dies for football.

Or, you can take the money. Take the money and go work with John Terry. Your summers will be spent identifying transfer targets and your winters will be cold and bitter, always wondering if you’re in line for the sack. And you’ll still have to watch your beloved national team play like crap.

You know what you need to do.

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