Simeone's contract with Atletico reduced from 2020 to 2018

MADRID (AP) " Coach Diego Simeone's contract with Atletico Madrid has been reduced by two years.

The club and the coach announced in March last year a contract extension to 2020, but Simone said on Friday the new deal will end in 2018.

Simeone did not fully elaborate on the change, but said both parties agreed it was needed.

"We and the club agreed it was necessary to do something we believed was fair," Simeone said. "It was the best decision for the team. It was made along with the club directors. It doesn't mean we can't renew the contract again after it ends. It doesn't change anything."

The change comes after an offseason filled with talk about teams wanting Simeone, especially Paris Saint-Germain, which eventually signed Unai Emery. Atletico and Simeone have constantly reaffirmed their long-term commitment amid the rumors.

"If I'm here, it's because I want to be here. We are happy, I've always said that," Simeone said. "I'm guided by heart, and I don't think that's going to change."

It wasn't clear if the financial terms of the original contract were also altered.

The 46-year-old Argentine coach has been with Atletico since late 2011. He won the Spanish league and Spanish Supercup in 2014, and the Copa del Rey in 2013.

He also led the team to two Champions League finals in three seasons, losing both times to local rival Real Madrid, in 2014 and 2016.

Atletico hosts Sporting Gijon on Saturday to try to improve its position in the Spanish league after a lackluster start. The club is only seventh in the standings with five points from three matches " a win and two draws.

Real Madrid, the leader with nine points, plays at Espanyol on Sunday. Barcelona, coming off a stunning home loss to recently promoted Alaves, plays at Leganes on Saturday. Lionel Messi's club is fifth in the standings with six points.

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Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/tales-azzoni

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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