Griezmann, the renaissance far from Barcelona?
The only scorer and author of a double in the victory of the France team against Finland on Tuesday night (2-0), Antoine Griezmann demonstrates that he is still the boss of this French team, far from FC Barcelona which he left after a dull stint. His return to Atlético de Madrid could revive the striker, provided he finds his place with the Spanish champion.
Returned to Atlético de Madrid only eight days ago, Antoine Griezmann distinguished himself with a brace on Tuesday night in the 2-0 victory of the France team against Finland. Six days before, he was already the only goalscorer for the Blues against Bosnia-Herzegovina (1-1). After this great victory, the French number 7 flew directly from Lyon to reach the Spanish capital and find Atléti, which he left only two seasons ago. After a brief unflattering stint at FC Barcelona, with only 35 goals scored in 102 games, ‘Grizou’ finds the club that blew him up to the highest level. Between 2014 and 2019, he scored no less than 133 goals in 257 games in all competitions with the Colchoneros. Stats that the French undoubtedly wishes to find during his « return home », as the player wrote on Instagram.
A return to Atlético between resentment and reunion
Eight days after his signing in the final moments of the transfer window, Antoine Griezmann arrived in Madrid. A flight between Lyon and the capital of Madrid followed live by Atlético supporters, still divided between resentment and hope. While it is certain that his return to Atléti was initially greeted as a « good surprise » by the colchonero aficion, many are waiting for an apology from the player. His plate in front of the Wanda Metropolitano is indeed constantly soiled by the supporters, who consider him a traitor to have left Atlético in this way. Two years later and after his failure at FC Barcelona, Griezmann returns to the club that brought him to the highest level, to whom he owes a lot.
The new number 8 of the Rouge et Blanc, in tribute to his three children born on April 8, arrives in an environment which is nevertheless rather favorable, although different. Having never severed his ties with Atléti executives, Antoine Griezmann has often been seen on vacation with them during his time at Barça. Last summer, he notably left with Diego Simeone and his family. The two men have always been very close, and the Madrid press often recalls that ‘El Cholo’ would have long pushed internally for a return of ‘Grizou’ to the Wanda Metropolitano. A desire ultimately reciprocal since the attacker agreed to lower his salary by 40% to be able to return, from 26 million gross per year in Catalonia to 15.6 million euros gross.
Fred Hermel also revealed in the After that it was « several months » that the striker called Koke « every week » « to ask that Simeone bring him back. Our specialist in Spanish football also welcomed the return. of the French in the Spanish capital: « To be taken in hand by the man who brought him to the highest level, it is very good news for Griezmann and for the France team. »
Between his financial efforts and his proximity to the rest of the group, the « little prince » of Atlético has all the cards in hand for a « smooth » return, before some sporting performances necessary to silence the most skeptics for good. Having lost nothing of his physical game developed during his five seasons with the Colchoneros, he should quickly find the automatisms requested by Simeone. A game made of races and participation in defensive tasks which have also slowed down his integration into Barça which advocates more a positional game. He has also lost nothing of his scoring instinct, like his good performance in the blue jersey despite his crossing of the desert in Catalonia, but must regain the confidence that animated him before his departure for Barça.
A new system to allow Griezmann to shine?
Arrived with a smile and warmly welcomed by Stefan Savić at the Atlético de Madrid training center, the former Barcelona player has already found his former teammates and Diego Simeone, who took him in his arms. However, if the whole team seems delighted with his return, integration into this new Atlético de Madrid who became Spanish champion last season may be somewhat complicated for « El Principito ». Simeone’s team are now evolving in a 4-4-2 or even 3-5-2 system in which the French will have to fit in, where Angel Correa seems to have taken his natural position: second striker alongside Luis Suarez. Unless the Argentine coach revises his plans to return to the systems in which his darling has shone for five seasons.
At the time, Griezmann was the star of the team, playing in false 9 or position number 10 and was put in the best position to shine. After two years of scarcity at Barça, he must now regain his sense of goal if he wishes to register as an indisputable holder. Atlético, who have since won without him and are seen as one of the title contenders this season, no longer need the Frenchman to shine. In a more offensive game, Simeone can now count on Joao Felix, Matheus Cunha, Yannick Carrasco, Luis Suarez and Angel Correa on the front of the attack and should question the system that made him win to integrate the French. Antoine Griezmann however retains a certain status with the Colchoneros, being the fifth best scorer in the club’s history, but will have a lot to do to win against so many competitors and perhaps sign his rebirth.