The La Liga title race for next season will always include Atletico Madrid, you can use this Paddy Power sign up promo code to back your preferred winner. Any Atleti title challenge will need their best players sticking around, and there is some good news on that front.
Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann ended months of speculation after committing his future to the Rojiblancos in a video published on Twitter. Barcelona and Manchester United were previously keen on the French international but made little progress in agreeing a deal this summer which raised suggestions that he might indeed stay at the Wanda Metropolitano.
But after reports that Griezmann had made two different videos, one containing a statement saying he’ll stay at Atleti and one saying the opposite, he’s come under a lot of criticism. The 27-year-old should be preparing for the 2018 World Cup with France, but instead he’s been leading the media a merry chase and has come out of this looking very self-indulged.
Why so much cryptic behaviour to commit his future to Atleti?
Many will ask why Griezmann took so long and acted so strangely if he was always going to stay at Atleti. The Frenchman told interviewers for weeks that he wasn’t ready to give his decision, so what was he waiting for? Barcelona certainly won’t be happy if this was always Griezmann’s attention as reports claimed they were looking to bring him to the Camp Nou before the World Cup started.
Numerous sources even said there was a deal agreed between Atleti and Barcelona for £88m, his release clause but that all turned out to be false. So much time was wasted on Griezmann and now Barca have to look at other targets to bolster their attack, many of whom could be busy at the World Cup.
For a long-serving player with a good relationship with the fans, Griezmann has risked upsetting a lot of people by turning his Atleti future into a soap opera. The Spanish club certainly won’t appreciate being kept in the dark, nor will they be pleased to hear he had recorded an ‘I’m leaving’ version of the video. They too will wonder if the forward genuinely considered an exit or if he was always staying.
Spanish football expert Guillem Balague revealed: “He had prepared all this for a long time. All those conversations shown took place in April. He actually got in touch with the TV company an hour before the show to tell them which video to put out there. As you can imagine, there has been a lot of criticism, even from Atletico fans who feel they have been taken for a ride.”
Atleti will be happy with the outcome regardless
When the dust settles, Atletico Madrid will treat this as very good news regardless. Keeping their best and most influential player bodes well for their future. Atleti finished second in La Liga last season and won the Europa League, so the future looks bright at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Since joining from Real Sociedad in 2014, Griezmann has scored over 100 goals in more than 200 appearances in all competitions and was outstanding last season – 29 goals in 49 games in 2017/18. It’s good news for Atleti that he’s staying but bad news he announced the decision in this manner.