Simeone's landmark game yields perfect tribute as Atletico Madrid demolish Sevilla
Diego Simeone set a new record for matches in charge of Atletico Madrid on Saturday and his players provided a stunning tribute as they crushed Sevilla 6-1 at the Civitas Metropolitano.
Simeone, 54, was presiding over his 613th match as Atletico coach, breaking the record set by the late Luis Aragones.
He was handed with a framed commemorative jersey with "Legend, Simeone, 613" across the back before the LaLiga game, with Aragones' son and three of Simeone's children joining him for the presentation.
Simeone's side followed that up with a fitting homage as they brutally swept aside another of their coach's former clubs.
Memphis Depay scored twice in quick succession before the half-hour mark, his second an emphatic strike from the edge of the box, with Youssef En-Nesyri halving the deficit from close range late in the half.
Atletico need not have worried, however. Antoine Griezmann restored the two-goal lead early in the second half and Yannick Carrasco made it 4-1.
Alvaro Morata netted twice late on – his first coming just after Ivan Rakitic missed a penalty – to wrap up a memorable victory on a momentous day for Simeone.
"A night to enjoy and one that [Simeone] will surely not forget," club captain Koke told Movistar after the game. "But hey, I'm sure he's already thinking about the Girona game because his philosophy in life is like that.
"Bygones are bygones, and he always looks to the next game."
He added: "You can't imagine an Atletico Madrid without Simeone. I've been here for 11 years, he came with a very clear idea, he changed the mentality, brought us all together, given the club the stability it needed and hopefully it will continue for many years.
"He has a year and a half left on his contract and we'll see what happens later."
Griezmann celebrated his goal by running over to Simeone and wrapping him in a huge hug.
Explaining the gesture, Griezmann said: "What is an important day for him is an important day for me. I wanted it to be a magical day for the fans and for my team-mates."
For Simeone, however, his focus turned to Aragones, whom he was coached by as a player at Sevilla.
Aragones died in February 2014, but ahead of Saturday's game Simeone posted a letter to him on social media, an act the Argentinian felt was necessary to outline his emotions.
Discussing the letter after the Sevilla game, Simeone told reporters: "Explaining feelings and emotions is difficult.
"I had no doubts seven or eight days ago, I began to think about what was happening and I understood that there was a person before everything that I had to write to, Luis. I talked about it with the family and they said it was a good idea.
"Why? We have travelled the same path; that respect for an eternal person; and passing the point that places me – by numbers, not by capacity – in the history of Atletico.
"Where I am, [Aragones] knows the difficulty. He knows the anger, the egos, living with the emotions, what the club needs, the coaching staff, that we must not make mistakes, that I must say the right word at the right time.
"We have made mistakes several times, but I am calm, I am at peace, because I am in the place where I want to be, I do what I like.
"I am excited to see when the team stands up and continues fighting until the end."