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Spanish award shortlists revealed

DIEGO-SIMEONEAtletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone has been shortlisted by the Spanish Football League (LFP) for the coach of the year award.

The Argentinian, who won the honour after the 2012/13 campaign, is up against Athletic Club boss Ernesto Valverde and Rayo Vallecano’s Paco Jemez. UEFA Champions League-winning coach Carlo Ancelotti and Unai Emery, who steered Sevilla to Europa League glory, have not been included on the list.

Simone guided Atletico to their first league title since 1996, a championship that was secured when Los Rojiblancos drew 1-1 at Barcelona in May on the final day of the campaign. The South American also led Atletico to the Champions League final where they lost to Real Madrid.

Valverde’s Athletic finished fourth in La Liga and went on to qualify for Europe’s elite club competition for the first time in 16 years. Jemez, meanwhile, engineered a major recovery for Rayo, taking them from bottom of the standings during the campaign to a 12th-place finish.

Chelsea’s former Atletico Madrid star Diego Costa will battle it out with Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Vela of Real Sociedad for the best striker award. Ronaldo won the Pichichi title for the top scorer in La Liga with 31 goals, four more than Costa.

Mexican striker Vela made a huge impact for Real Sociedad, scoring 16 goals and also setting up another 12 as the Basque outfit finished seventh.