After Antoine Griezmann made his fourth successive appearance off the benchin the game against Real Sociedad, it was noted that Barcelona’s legal team launched a query to understand whether Atletico Madrid are breaking any law by forcing the Frenchman to limit his appearances.
As it turns out, the team from the capital city are working within their rights and are, in fact, not breaking any law.
Griezmann is in the second year of his loan spell with Atletico Madrid, following which, the Rojiblancos will have to exercise the obligatory buy option which is worth €40 million.
However, for the clause to come into effect, the Frenchman is obliged to play at least 45 minutes in 50% of the games in which he is available. While the condition was rightly fulfilled last season, Atletico are seeming reluctant to meet the mentioned demands this season.
At the time of writing, Griezmann has clocked a mere 109 minutes in four league games. This translate to an aggregate of fewer than 30 minutes of action per game; 27.25 minutes to be exact.
Hence, the approach Atletico are taking is pretty much understandable. Interestingly enough, however, the team isn’t really breaching any labour law.
According to Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, while Atletico’s actions are indeed against the ethics, there is no legal violation from their part and Barcelona do not really have any room for action.
All this is because the contract was authorised by the player himself. This has led to the situation that Griezmann is now in no position to demand more game time.
According to the Spanish Workers’ Statute, ‘the corresponding obligation of the employer to provide the activity agreed in the employment contract, that is, the obligations of all employer are not exhausted in hiring with remuneration and contributions, the employment relationship must also be given content.’
This basically means Atletico will be well within the law even if they do play Griezmann for the rest of the season, as the law only requires the player to be registered and train with the rest of the group.
All this is certain to leave Barcelona frustrated, but there seems to be nothing that they can do at the moment.
Atletico Madrid midfielder on the derby against Real Madrid: “Very difficult to beat them”
Following a 1-1 draw in their Champions League opener against Lazio, Atletico Madrid will shift all their attention to La Liga, as they brace themselves for the derby against Real Madrid this weekend.
Heading into this game, Atleti midfielder Marcos Llorente spoke about Real Madrid’s quality and Atletico Madrid’s chances of squeezing all three points from this iconic derby.
Llorente on Madrid derby
“The sensations are good. The team is very good, the other day we played a great game despite ending up drawing. I really think that the team did a great job that must be maintained for this match,” Llorente said in an interview with Diario AS.
When asked whether or not Real Madrid being tagged as favourites could aid Atleti, the midfielder said, “Honestly, it neither motivates me nor demotivates me. We simply have to do what we work on during the week, what the coach asks of us.”
Llorente stressed the importance of the game, adding, “It is a great rival we have in front of us, they are having a very good start to the season and that motivates me and everyone to try to play a good game.”
“Real Madrid is a great club, they have great players and it is very difficult to beat them. I think we have competed, we have also achieved several draws, but in the end, either you go out one hundred percent and do things very, very well or it is difficult to beat them,” he added.
A former member of the Real Madrid youth academy, Llorente joined Atletico Madrid in 2019. Since then, he has racked up over 150 competitive appearances for Los Colchoneros.
Llorente, though, said he feels no sense of vindication when he performs well against his former team.
“No. In the end, it’s been many years since I left there and I’m at Atlético. Perhaps in the first years, those types of feelings and sensations can arise, but today they no longer do,” he said.
Llorente on Vinicius, Koke & Bellingham
The Atletico Madrid star went on to talk about other aspects of the game, including the fact that his team had one less player every time they faced Real Madrid last season.
“I have zero worries. These are things that are not in our remit, that escape our hands. We play football, the referees referee and those who have to decide decide,” he said.
Llorente, in fact, said that the return of Koke could be a real boost for Atleti. “It is always good that Koke is with us, both on the field and in the day-to-day life of the game,” he said.
“Beyond the grass. The support he gives, the advice he gives us, his experience. it is always important to have him and it is great news that he is already training with us,” he added.
Talking about the absence of Vinicius Junior and the form of Jude Bellingham, Llorente said, “Well, you have to be careful with everyone. All Real Madrid players are very good and can make a difference at any moment of the game. Bellingham is having a great start and we have to take that into account and be very focused.”
Finally, Marcos Llorente put out a message for all the Atletico Madrid fans, claiming their support ahead of this crucial encounter this weekend.
“It will be a full house as always. We don’t have to tell them anything, they know the importance of this match for Atlético, we know that they never fail, they are always supporting us and we count on them,” he said.