April 24, 2008

Atlético de Madrid has taken the rare step of responding to growing media speculation about the future of coach Javier Aguirre after it was linked to several trainers this week.

Los Colchoneros' boss has come under increasing pressure despite the team sitting in fourth place and has been jeered by the club's supporters at home games.

Speculation increased after Aguirre was linked to the Mexico national-team job, but he denied that he had any interest in returning home to take over and leave Spain.

Aguirre's contract officially expires at the end of the season, but a clause will be activated that automatically renews it if the team qualifies for Europe.

Almería's Unai Emery was strongly linked to an approach by Atlético and Racing Santander's Marcelino was also said to be in the frame for the job if it became available.

The increase in stories this week has led Atlético to release a statement on its official Web site in a bid to quash any more debilitating rumors.

"Atletico Madrid, in the wake of reports appearing in various media outlets, would like to state it has not made contact with any manager with regard to coaching the team next season," the statement read.

"The reality is that the team, with five weeks left, continues on the path to reach the goal set of finishing in a Champions League place.

"When the league comes to an end, the board of directors and the sporting department will analyse and assess the performance of both the coaching staff and the players, with the intention of taking the necessary decisions to improve the level of the squad for next season."

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