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Atletico coach Simeone extends contract to 2017

Atletico Madrid's coach Diego Simeone gestures as his player Arda Turan (L) battles for the ball with Malaga's Sebas Fernandez during their
Atletico Madrid's coach Diego Simeone gestures as his player Arda Turan (L) battles for the ball with Malaga's Sebas Fernandez during their

MADRID (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has been rewarded with a long-term contract until the end of the 2016-17 season after bringing success back to the club where he had two stints as a player.

"Atletico Madrid and Diego Pablo Simeone have reached an agreement on the coach's contract extension for the next four seasons," the La Liga club said in a statement on their website (www.clubatleticodemadrid.com) on Tuesday.

Argentine Simeone, who will be 43 next month, took over after the sacking of Gregorio Manzano midway through last season and promptly led the side to Europa League glory with victory over Spanish rivals Athletic Bilbao in the final.

Atletico went on to beat continental champions Chelsea to win the European Super Cup and are riding high in second in La Liga and through to face city rivals Real Madrid in the King's Cup final.

A combative midfielder described as "playing with a knife between his teeth", the no-nonsense Simeone has transformed the team into a tight defensive unit and the goals of Colombia striker Radamel Falcao have helped underpin their success.

Simeone helped Atletico win the La Liga and King's Cup double in 1996 before moving on the following year and returned to the club for a second playing stint between 2003 and 2005.

A four-year contract is rare in Spain, known for its impatient club presidents and demanding fans.

(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Ed Osmond)

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