Giuliano Simeone: Can Cholo’s teenage son succeed at Atletico Madrid?

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In 2018, when it was reported that Atletico Madrid were looking to sign Giovanni Simeone from Fiorentina, it seemed his famous father wasn’t that keen on the idea.

“Gio has everything to play with me, but unfortunately that will never happen,” Atletico boss Diego Simeone said of El Cholito at the time. “It’s very difficult to have a child in the locker room, both for him and for the relationship he has with the other players.”

Fast forward three years, however, and Simeone Sr. may now have to figure out how to deal with those relationships as his youngest son, Giuliano, makes his way to the Wanda Metropolitano first team.

Like Giovanni and his other older brother, Gianluca (who plays for Club Deportivo Ibiza Islas Pitiusas in the fourth tier of Spanish football), Giuliano plays as a striker, rather than replicating the midfielder role in which his father excelled during his own playing career.

And after impressing during the Rojiblancos preseason, the 18-year-old finds himself on a path where playing under Diego’s tutelage in a competitive environment doesn’t seem so far away.

Born in Italy while Diego played for Lazio, Giuliano actually started his football studies in Argentina after the family returned to their homeland when he was just four years old.

He was enrolled at River Plate academy but traveled to Madrid regularly to hang out with his father, especially when he was seen celebrating near the Atleti bench in a game against Getafe in 2015 when he was a ball collector.

Giuliano eventually moved to Spain permanently in 2019, although River retained a percentage of his rights under the deal and wasted no time leaving his mark on Atletico coaches, scoring five goals. in his first five appearances for the club.

From there he was part of the Juvenil A squad (under 19) that won the league title in 2020-21, with Giuliano’s 13 goals enough to earn him a promotion to Atletico Madrid. B in the third Spanish level before the end of the season.

Having marked his debut at this level against Poblense, he has scored two more times, with manager Nacho Fernandez describing him as “a young player, but already a footballer and showing everything you want on the pitch.

“He doesn’t give up on lost causes, he fights for everything, he creates, finishes and leaves everything on the pitch. He’s a player with enormous potential.”

It’s a sentiment that reverberates throughout Atletico’s academy, with sources claiming that “if he wasn’t the son of who he is he would already be in the first team”.

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So Giuliano’s potential has been clear for some time, but it wasn’t until the summer of 2021 that the majority of Atletico fans realized what kind of talent they had in their hands.

After making his unofficial first-team debut against Numanica in July, the teenager made an instant impact, recovering the ball through the opposing line with his first action before landing the ball on a plate for Mario Soriano to score.

This sacrifice, mobility and tireless spirit saw Giuliano appear in each of Atleti’s next four friendlies, playing more minutes than any other player, his performances earning him a place in the senior squad of the day four times. since the start of the La Liga campaign.

With Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann, Joao Felix, Angel Correa and Matheus Cunha vying for places in the Atleti roster, Giuliano will have to do a bit to make his way through the hierarchy, although his versatility can help well in that regard. .

“Giuliano is playing as a center-forward, although he seems to me more like a No 7,” said Natalia Simeone, Giuliano’s aunt and agent, of the youngster who wears Atletico B’s number 10 shirt.

He grew up watching Griezmann closely during his first stint with the club, while he also took inspiration from Lautaro Martinez and Roberto Firmino due to the selfless way they play the role of the center forward.

As such, it is not yet clear whether he will become a full-fledged No.9 himself, or if he will drop slightly deeper, or even play as a winger due to the speed and intensity that he is. ‘he owns.

What is certain is that he has the right mindset to get to the top of the game, those who know him well say, “He has the talent to get where he wants to, as well as the right mindset to get there. continue to grow at this early stage of his career.

“He is a boy who is hungry for always wanting more, but at the same time the humility to seek to learn every day and to grow calmly with each step.”

With a passion for the sea and his free time spent socializing with his family and playing video games, Giuliano also took the time to show his caring side by participating in a charity event organized by the youth teams of the Atletico to raise funds for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

It is on the pitch, however, that he really wants to make a difference, although there are Atleti fans who may believe he has already done a lot to improve the fortunes of the capital club.

It was Giuliano, after all, who convinced Diego to take on the Atletico managerial post ten years ago.

“The call came from Atletico Madrid saying they wanted to talk to me,” said the 51-year-old. The voice of coaches. “At the time, I was in Mar del Plata – a seaside town in Argentina – to spend a few days with Giuliano.

“He was only eight years old, and we were sitting in a bar with our croissants and our coffee (for me, milk for him), when I said to him: ‘Look, a chance has come to go to ‘Atletico Madrid and I don’t’ I don’t know what to do.

“Giuliano thought about it. He replied: ‘Are you going to handle [Radamel] Falçao? Will you play against [Lionel] Messi? Versus [Cristiano] Ronaldo? ‘

“The kid was telling me all that. And I would say yes. And in between dipping the croissant in the milk, he said these words: ‘Daddy, if you’re okay, you won’t come back.’

“There are of course two sides to this. On the one hand, it’s luck, because I want to do well. But on the other hand, it’s bad luck, because I can’t see my children grow up. “

The rest is history, Diego realizing that this wasn’t an opportunity he could turn down, despite what he would give up on a personal level.

Now he has the option of potentially paying his son back by giving him a debut at the top of the game, assuming he’s agreed to what’s required to train someone so close.

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