Antoine Griezmann is going through a rough patch of form. The 31-year-old hasn’t scored or assisted in each of his last nine games. In fact, since the turn of the year, the World Cup winner has only provided two assists.
While no one can really question his commitment, the numbers are just not adding up for him to get in the good books of the Atletico Madrid faithful.
Since football resumed from the international break, Griezmann was the first name to come off in four consecutive matches which more or less portrays the level of trust Diego Simeone now has in his forward.
A dry spell like this is certain to affect an athlete’s mental health, but speaking in an exclusive interview with GQ, the forward has explained that he is working on winning the trust back.
“We are working on it. I have to win the trust of the fans and I know how to do it, I can only do it on the field, working game by game. It is a great pride for me to play at Atletico de Madrid,” he said.
“I am very happy in Madrid, my family is very happy to be here. What I like to do the most right now is to be with my children. Since we play every 3 days, you don’t have so much time with your family, and that’s what I want to do the most in my free time,” he added.
Used across five different positions this season, Griezmann has struggled for game time which is mostly down to his lack of fitness, especially in the second half of the season.
“I’m fine, although I’m already older. The years are passing… I was injured this year. Right now I’m feeling better, and I can enjoy football again,” he said.
Griezmann has scored some crucial goals for every team he has ever played for. So when asked about his favourite goals, he was quick to point out two.
“I keep two goals,” he said. “The first was the one I scored in the Champions League, with Real Sociedad, against Olympique de Lyon.”
“The second was the first goal scored at the Wanda Metropolitano. I put it against Malaga. I like it because that goal is going to make my name go down in the history of the club and the stadium.”
International break in football brings a much-needed change in the scenario for the footballers, They get to see fresh faces and even the training drills are of different intensity.
Speaking on the subject, Griezmann explained how training with the French squad is different from that of Atletico’s drills.
“With Atletico de Madrid the work is more continuous, more complete because we have more time. It is the club with which I can train 5 days a week if necessary, and you can train both physically and tactically.”
“However, working with the selection is different. We can only be together for a few days, so we work more on tactics,” he added.
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.