Griezmann’s happiness: the Frenchman’s return to the Camp Nou comes at his best | Sports

The morning music that thunders in the speakers of his car alerts of the arrivals of Antoine Griezmann at the Atlético de Madrid facilities in the Cerro del Espino de Majadahonda. The club’s employees associate the commotion that the French attacker makes with his happiness. The uninhibited pink color of his hair also betrays his state of well-being. Griezmann himself has confessed on different occasions that his performance depends a lot on his spirit.

“When he is well, we play a different kind of football,” admits Diego Pablo Simeone on the eve of this afternoon’s momentous match at the Camp Nou (16.15, Movistar LaLiga). Griezmann appears at the event in his best moment since he returned to Atlético in the summer of 2021. He is the player who has given his team the most points (18) with his participation in goals (11) and assists (8 ). At 32 years old, his high performance is a case of survival from intelligence to change his football. There are few players who were born wingers and end up becoming organizers of the offensive game. Saving the distances, the closest referent is Messi. “There will always have been players who changed position. Griezmann’s growth is extraordinary, he is a noble boy, a team player. We suffered a lot of last season with his injury, he didn’t get to his level, also in the first half of this one from what you know (he could only be in the field for half an hour). Now he is really fine, ”says Simeone.

Without the speed or explosiveness of the years of his physical prime, Griezmann has become one of the most decisive players in the championship since occupying the spaces. He always tries to receive face and freed from marks. When he achieves this in the last 30 meters, his actions are threatening to the opposing defenses. He can break with a vertical drive, filter a last pass, throw a wall or even try the long shot. He has created 56 chances in 29 league games this season and only on one occasion, in the 18-19 campaign, had he created more at this point in the course (60). His latest scoring streak is also impressive. He has scored five goals in the last eight games, just one less than in the rest of the season.

All in all, what fascinates Simeone the most about Griezmann is his propensity to play in overalls. “I will always remember the Cup match (against Almazán) before the World Cup, he ran like an 18-year-old boy. There were four days left for the World Cup. Not everyone has that and he does.

There is a point of revenge in each appearance of Griezmann at the Camp Nou. He believes that during his time at Barcelona, ​​marked by the eternal comparison with Messi, the assessment and support were minimal at the club and in part of the press. The presence of Memphis would have increased the temperature of the pending accounts. With the Dutchman missing due to injury, about whom Griezmann gave Simeone excellent reports, everything points to his attacking partner being Correa.

The attacking duo of Atlético will have to measure themselves against a Barcelona that, according to Simeone, has improved in defense under the direction of Xavi: “It has improved in defense and that is a plus for a style of play that will always be offensive, since Barcelona historically has that game because of the offensive characteristics of its players. And that defensive improvement, with those players, gives Xavi’s work added value”

You can follow EL PAÍS Sports on Facebook and Twitteror sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.

Subscribe to continue reading

Read without limits