The FIFA Coach of the Year 2014 shortlist includes the managerial brains behind the 2013/14 La Liga, Bundesliga, Premier League and Serie A titles.
World Cup-winning tactician Joachim Low and Carlo Ancelotti, the boss who finally snared the elusive Champions League ‘Decima’ also make the reckoning.
So it’s bizarre to see Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho join them in the running for this year’s award, in one of the few years of his career when he has failed to lift a trophy.
Admittedly Mourinho is an 80/1 outsider for the gong, along with equally bizarre shortlist inclusion Jurgen Klinsmann.
Nonetheless, it’s a distinctly worrying portent for those who hope to see the brilliant but staunchly unfashionable Diego Simeone receive recognition for the culmination of an onwards-ever-upwards three year spell at Atletico Madrid.
‘Cholo’ is 5/2 second-favourite for the prize behind Germany coach Low (7/10), yet his achievement in smashing the Clasico cartel in Spain is arguably far greater.
Whereas Die Mannschaft have been regulars at international football’s top-table for the lion’s share of the game’s modern lifespan, Atleti’s fates since Simeone won La Liga with them as a player in 1995/96 have been far more up and down.
A spell in administration and accompanying relegation around the turn of the millennium seem a long way away now.
Under the Argentine’s stewardship Los Indios lifted a second successive Europa League, won a European Super Cup and a Copa del Rey and established themselves as the country’s clear third best inside two seasons.
Then his leading scorer Radamel Falcao was sold to Monaco.
Yet despite working within infinitely tighter financial strictures than Barcelona and Real Madrid, Simeone was able to eke even further improvement from his squad, winning La Liga and coming within minutes of Champions League glory in 2014.
It’s the kind of concerted upward trajectory at the same club that’s very seldom seen in these days of short-term managerial tenures and it deserves to be honoured.