“Boss, football is played with the feet, teeth don’t help. I’m staying on the pitch.” Those were the words of Diego Pablo Simeone. The coach in question was Gigi Simone after he’d done what any sane person would have done as he asked his player to come off. The aforementioned player had just lost two incisors in a clash with Piacenza’s Cristallini with pain on the limit of what was tolerable. Douglas Maicon who was no shrinking violet either had the same misadventure years later after a clash with Messi and he had to go off on a stretcher.
El Cholo (the nickname came from Xoloitzucuintli, an Aztec word for a crossroad of diverse origins) and it was epitomised by what the Argentines call garra or grit. Rage, passion and resilience. Diego was all of this and it was summed up by Simoni’s response “Go to the hospital, Cholo, that must have hurt like hell.” It was pure Diego Simeone. During Inter vs. Piacenza in September 1998, he didn’t want to even know how to come off the pitch.
He was also a man of goals which were always significant. He scored three in his first two derbies with a legendary brace along with a a great goal to complete a comeback against Strasbourg. He scored a fundamental goal in the Champions League in Moscow with him going to embrace Gigi Simone, a coach among many others who inspired the Argentine to become the successful coach he is today.