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Football: Simeone targets Champions League after extension

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone is targeting Champions League football next season after signing a new four-year deal with the club.

Simeone has enjoyed a remarkably successful 15-month spell in charge as he led Los Rojiblancos to their second Europa League title in three years in May before hammering Chelsea 4-1 to claim the European Super Cup three months later.

Atletico have also progressed to the final of the Copa del Rey where they will face fierce city rivals Real Madrid.

However, it is their fantastic league form that has most caught the eye this season as they sit two points ahead of Real in second place with just 12 games remaining.

"This extension shows that the club wants to continue building on the success we have been working towards over the past year and a few months," Simeone told reporters.

"The objectives are to maintain the stability that will give us the strength to continue growing as a team and be more competitive.

"The more competition we have internally between the players, the better we will compete against others. Hopefully we can qualify for the Champions League and build an even more competitive team because that will make us better."

However, despite committing his own future to the club, Simeone refused to comment on whether he had been given guarantees that key players like Radamel Falcao and Arda Turan won't be sold in the summer to help ease Atletico's huge debts.

"I am not Falcao's agent and I am not Arda's agent. They are both very important players and players that I like very much so if they are here next season then it will be great, but if not we will continue to build without them."

kca/bc

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130306/football-simeone-targets-champions-league-after-extension