Mendilibar against Simeone: the great LaLiga classic

They have been seeing each other for five years in a row at Eibar-Atlético. Cholo, who has been at Atleti for nine years, has only met Valverde more times.


Spanish benches are hot chairs. In the 20 days of January, Gaizka Garitano (Athletic), Míchel (Huesca) and Pablo Machín (Alavés) have been dismissed from their respective positions and have joined Óscar (Celta) for a total of four teams that have already changed their projects before reaching the middle of the course.

If having continuity is increasingly complicated, the duel between Eibar and Atlético has been facing the same protagonists on their benches for more than five years: José Luis Mendilibar against Diego Pablo Simeone. Since the arrival of the Zaldibar coach at the gunsmith club in June 2015, his matches against Cholo have become a true LaLiga classic. Twelve games with clear Atletico dominance, with eight wins, three draws and a single defeat, but which has been balanced over the years.

Last season Eibar won 2-0 at Ipurua in a game where they proposed a very high pace that caught the rojiblancos by surprise. In the last five games, Mendilibar has managed to put Simeone in trouble, with two athletic wins, two draws and the Eibar victory. Previously, they had already seen each other three times when the current Eibar coach directed Osasuna. A total of 15 confrontations that make Mendilibar the second coach that Simeone has faced the most, only surpassed by the 17 games against Ernesto Valverde (between Valencia, Athletic and Barcelona) who, if everything goes according to logic, will be equaled this course.

The same 15 matches in which Cholo had been put to the test against Carlo Ancelotti (Real Madrid and Bayern) and that with tomorrow's duel (9pm) will break the tie. Simeone, with more than nine years in a row on the Atlético bench, is the clear exception in the usual trend. Nail and meat with the club, since his arrival in December 2011 he has directed 503 games and has lifted seven titles: LaLiga (2013-14), one Copa del Rey (2013), two Europa League (2012 and 2018), two Super Cups of Europe (2012 and 2018) and a Spanish Super Cup (2014). The full reinvention of their approaches, Simeone and Atlético are already negotiating the extension of their contract, which ends in 2022, until 2024. 444 444

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