Manchester United board have changed their mind on Diego Simeone appointment

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On Monday, Manchester United were initially drawn against Paris Saint-Germain in the knockout stages of the Champions League. However, after a UEFA blunder, it will instead be Atletico Madrid who stands in the Red Devils’ way of glory. In Diego Simeone they’ll be going up against one of the best, and most combative, managers in the entire sport.

Manchester United were furious when they were initially drawn against PSG, with a mix-up involving the balls giving them a tricky draw.

However, after UEFA decided to redo the event, it will now be Atletico who they’ll lock horns with for a place in the last eight of the Champions League.

Arguably, it’s an even tougher draw for United than their original one.

The La Liga giants still don’t have the same pedigree as their other European rivals but, as champions of Spain, they can’t be underestimated.

Atletico’s squad contains great players, from stalwarts such as Jan Oblak and Koke to forwards like Joao Felix and Luis Suarez.

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In Simeone, they also possess one of the best managers in the whole of world football. A man who is more than a manager, who has overcome the odds to turn them into a genuine European superpower.

The Argentine initially spent two years at the club as a player, moving in 2003 from Serie A side Lazio.

He was given the manager’s job in December 2011 and, a decade on, his hard graft behind the scenes is clear for all to see.

Simeone has won La Liga twice, with the first triumph coming in 2014 when Barcelona were beaten to glory in their own back yard on the final day of the season.

He’s also steered them to Europa League glory on two separate occasions, too, as well as two Champions League finals.

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Had it not been for Real Madrid, Atletico would have two of the biggest trophies in world football sitting in their stadium.

And United have admired Simeone for a number of years, with interest dating back to 2014.

That was when the Daily Mail reported that the Red Devils were genuinely considering the Argentine to replace David Moyes, who was struggling at the time.

Moyes had inherited an ageing squad from Sir Alex Ferguson yet that was still no excuse as United tumbled from top to seventh, resulting in his sacking.

It was also claimed Simeone was taking English lessons to prepare for the job, such was the magnitude of United’s interest.

Yet now, seven years on, and the Red Devils are no longer interested.

Not because they think Simeone is a bad manager, far from it. Instead, it’s because they feel he’s tied to Atletico emotionally, as well as literally.

Ralf Rangnick currently rules the roost at Old Trafford but the 63-year-old, who has won two of his first three matches, is only expected to be in charge until the summer.

Then, United plan on appointing a permanent replacement for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

And two names are leading the race to take over at Theatre of Dreams.

PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino is one of them, with the Argentine a boss the United hierarchy have admired for a number of years.

And Erik ten Hag is another, having worked wonders at Ajax in recent years.

Meanwhile, former United star Paul Ince thinks his old team can win the Champions League this season.

“They can win the Champions League, people will think I’m mad, but they can,” he said.

“United can beat anybody on their day. Anybody, no matter who they are.

“In knockout football, if you are on your game and on form and with the world class players they’ve got, there’s no reason they can’t get to a Champions League final or win it.”

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