Diego Simeone
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone speaks with his mobile phone inside a press box before the match against Rayo Vallecano at Vallecas stadium in Madrid August 25, 2014. Simeone was handed an eight-match touchline ban by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) on Monday following his dismissal and angry reaction in the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid. REUTERS/Juan Medina

In a surprise twist of the ongoing saga that is Atlético Madrid’s manager, Diego Simeone, president of the team, Enrique Cerezo announced on Thursday that Atlético will file a formal appeal to the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) against Simeone’s eight-game ban that came down on Monday. The move is surprising considering on Tuesday Simeone himself said “The matter is closed,” and that he accepted the punishment that was decided by the disciplinary panel.

Simeone was suspended for eight matches on Monday after tapping an assistant referee on the back of the head while arguing with him during Atlético’s 1-0 Spanish Super Cup victory over rival Real Madrid last week. Simone is suspended for four Spanish La Liga matches and four future Spanish Super Cup matches as well. If you caught the game itself last Friday, or read our game summary, you would know the soap opera that ensued after Simeone was sent off.

Simeone was ejected in the 25th minute of the match after his player; Juanfran Torres had come off the pitch in order to be treated for a cut lip by medical trainers on the sidelines. When the Atlético Madrid defender tried to return to the pitch after the cut was treated, the referee told him to wait. A passionate and enigmatic Simeone immediately called for Torres to be allowed back on to the pitch, but to no avail. As the referee walked away from Simeone, the Atlético manager gently patted him on the head as he went by.

Simeone was immediately sent off by the head referee and hilarity ensued as needless to say, Simeone did not take his ejection in stride. He immediately began looking at the ref that he touched and began applauding him. He also started to pump up the crowd and get the packed house at Vicente Calderon Stadium to cheer and applaud the ejection as well. Now normally, after a coach or player is sent off they are required to return to the locker room where they can watch the remainder of the match on televison while they await the game to finish and their team to arrive. However, Simeone is not your normal manager.

Instead of staying in the locker room, Simeone decided he would watch the remainder of the match from the stands. Soon after walking down the steps to the locker room, he emerged in the front row of the stands, cheering on his team as he paced back and forth through the fans and up and down the stairs. Many fans took pictures with the coach and of him.

Diego Simeone in the stands
Atletico Madrid manager, Diego Simeone walks in the stands after being sent off by the officials in the Spanish Super Cup Final against Real Madrid REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

The Spanish Football Federation broke down Simeone’s suspension during their announcement on Monday: Simeone was suspended four games for tapping the back of the assistant referee’s head, two games for protesting the call to begin with, one game for sarcastically applauding the fact that he was sent off and trying to incite the crowd to do the same, and finally one more game for remaining in the stands for the remainder of the game instead of heading into the changing room.

Simeone immediately took responsibility for his actions after the match ended and his team raised the Spanish Super Cup trophy after losing the award to Barcelona last year. Simeone said that he would accept any punishment that came down and was quoted as saying, “When one makes a mistake it’s fair to pay for it.” Thursday’s appeal however puts an ironic spin on Simeone’s remarks. Atlético’s team will now tell the RFEF that although Simeone agreed and accepted their decision, they don’t really accept it and they would like the suspension to be lessened. More than likely, the suspension will be upheld.

Simeone already served a one game suspension for a different offense on Monday in Atlético’s 0-0 draw against Rayo Vallecano. Simeone’s fiery presence and passion was missed on the sidelines as Atlético should have easily won the match against Rayo. Atlético will next face Eibar on Saturday and will need to score some points in that match if they want to have a good chance at defending their La Liga title from last season. Without Simeone, assistant coach, Germán Burgos will take over head coaching duties. Burgos does not have the intensity and fervor that the Argentinean Simeone has, but he does have a similar soccer mind as Simeone alluded to:

“We’ll try to find the best way to communicate. Germán has the capacity and confidence; it gives me peace of mind that we understand football in the same way. He will sit on the bench and I will see it from another place."

Take a look at the video of Simeone’s infamous “love tap” below and let us know if you think it was worthy of an eight game ban.

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