Diego Simeone returns to Atletico Madrid as coach after two stints as a player with the club.

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Atletico Madrid name Argentine Diego Simeone as their new first team coach

Simeone replaces Gregorio Manzano who was dismissed earlier this week

Simeone returns to Atletico after two successful stints as a player with the club

CNN  — 

Spanish side Atletico Madrid have named former player Diego Simeone as their new coach in succession to Gregorio Manzano, who was dismissed after this week’s Spanish Cup defeat by Albacete.

Former Argentina international Simeone, who will be officially presented to the media on Tuesday, returns to the Vicente Calderon stadium after two previous stints there as a player.

The Atletico board turned to the 41-year-old after losing patience with Manzano, whose last game in charge was Wednesday’s 1-0 home loss to third division side Albacete.

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That defeat saw Atletico crash out of the Spanish Cup 3-1 on aggregate, while they are also trailing in 10th place in the Primera Liga, 21 points behind leaders and city rivals Real Madrid.

Director of football Jose Luis Caminero told the official Atletico website: “The results have not been good and we decided that to change the direction of the team, we had to change the coach.

“Diego has signed a contract for the remainder of this season and for next season. He knows the demands of the fans because they understand, like us, that this club must always be near the top.

“Our goal must be to be among the top four clubs, Diego is aware of this requirement and we are confident that we will achieve it under him.”

As a player, Simeone starred for Argentina in the 1994, 1998 and 2002 World Cups – gaining notoriety in the 1998 tournament in France when David Beckham’s kick at him resulted in the England midfielder’s dismissal.

He retired as a player in 2006 and has coached Italian club Catania, as well as Argentine sides Racing Club, Estudiantes, River Plate and San Lorenzo.

Meanwhile, Holders Real Madrid and Barcelona are in line to meet in the quarterfinals of the Spanish Cup, if both sides win their last 16 matches next month.

Jose Mourinho’s side face a tricky two-legged encounter with Malaga, while Barcelona take on Osasuna, with another El Clasico clash lying in wait should they both progress.

The Spanish giants met in last season’s final, with a Cristiano Ronaldo header in extra-time securing victory for Real, the only Madrid victory in seven matches against their rivals in 2011.