Antoine Griezmann has committed himself to Atletico Madrid until 2022.
The French superstar has been the subject of intense transfer speculation for some time, with Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils well and truly in the mix to sign him.
But now, Griezmann, who said last week that leaving Atletico would be a “dirty move” given the club’s current transfer ban status – has shown the La Liga club his true loyalty.
Here, we look at five key reasons why he is staying in the Spanish capital.
THE DIEGO SIMEONE FACTOR
The decision of the Argentine touchline warrior to stay on next season undoubtedly played a huge part in Griezmann’s decision to stay put too.
What Simeone has achieved with the Red and Whites is well documented (and astonishing) and speculation was rife he would depart at the end of last season.
However, with the 47-year-old at the helm to lead the club into a new era at the brand-new Estadio Olimpico de Madrid stadium, Griezmann knows he has the chance to make more history with the club as no doubt they will again contest silverware on both the domestic and European front.
A SENSE OF LOYALTY
The Frenchman is very much settled in Spain, and for that matter, Madrid, with a young family.
Given Atleti are banned from registering any new players in the summer transfer window after the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld a suspension imposed by FIFA for multiple breaches of global football’s rules on the registration of under-18s, the striker was reluctant to leave the club in the lurch.
As they say, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and at Atletico, the fact he is loved by the club’s supporters and is their main man on the pitch is something he won’t get at another club straight away.
HE IS STILL ONLY 26
Contracts don’t mean what they once did in football and Griezmann still has plenty of years left on the clock to make a move elsewhere in the coming seasons.
Given the loyalty he has now shown to Atleti, it’s unlikely he’d ever join another La Liga side which means only a handful of teams in the Premier League and Paris Saint-Germain could afford him.
Indeed, it would take a world record fee to breach his release clause of 100 million euros (£87million) – if he is to be prized away from the Community of Madrid club in the future.
STAYING AT ATLETI IS NOT A BACKWARDS STEP
Whilst he may have looked at neighbours Real with a touch of jealously last season, seeing Los Blancos march to La Liga and Champions League-winning success, the truth is Atleti were still up there and challenging.
There’s no reason why they won’t be there or thereabouts next season, but the key for Atleti will be settling into their new home quickly – it will of course be very different from the Vicente Calderon.
Griezmann Hates Real Madrid This Much! 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/gUeB14Ju1T— Lerato (@AndImLee) June 12, 2017
HE GETS A GOOD DEAL
He is undoubtedly one of the world’s best players – and for Atletico – has scored 83 goals in 160 appearances.
So, as such, he deserves new lucrative financial terms.
Griezmann will reportedly earn £12.3million a season and pick up £235,000 a week – not a bad deal for the former Real Sociedad man!
Atletico Madrid’s French star Antoine Griezmann has extended his contract with the Spanish club by a year, according to press reports in Spain.
“Antoine Griezmann signed a contract with Atletico until 2022,” Madrid sports daily Marca reported.
According to As newspaper, “Atletico has revised the player’s salary to reward his performance” and made an “economic effort” to convince the player to stay.
Until new contract was signed Utd still had hope Griezmann might go to OT. New escape clause will be huge.— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) June 12, 2017
The 26-year-old has been heavily linked with a move away from Atletico but said earlier this month that he intended to stay at the club.
Griezmann arrived in Atletico in 2014 for 30 million euros from Real Sociedad, where he started his career in 2009.
He has scored 83 goals in 160 games for the club, with whom he reached the Champions League final in 2016.
Provided by AFP Sport
Ever since Xavi declined and then departed, there has been a big hole in the heart of Barcelona’s midfield. A very big hole.
The captain was not just an important player for Barca, he was the important player – even more so than Lionel Messi – in terms of defining the team’s overall structure, so it is only natural that his presence has been sorely missed.
It’s also only natural that Marco Verratti is being heavily linked with a summer move to Camp Nou, because the Italian international is one of the best possible options for Barca to strengthen an area of the pitch which has been below par since Xavi’s departure.
That’s not to suggest that Verratti is a carbon copy of Xavi. Nobody ever could be, and the two players are very different in many of their strengths and capabilities, with Verratti a far more physical player but falling well short of Xavi’s peerless passing powers.
One crucial thing they do have in common, however, is their intensity. Because he was so good with the ball at his feet, one aspect of Xavi’s game which was always criminally under-regarded was his work-rate.
He simply never stopped running, either with or without the ball, shuttling back and forth in an attempt to create space when his team had possession or deny it to the opposition whenever the ball was lost, and Verratti is similar in his tireless quest to win and then keep the ball.
However, Barca fans should not fool themselves into thinking their team’s obvious problems in midfield would be simply solved in one swoop by prising Verratti away from Paris Saint-Germain.
Rather than the identity of the individuals, the Catalan club’s problems in the last few years have been organisational, and the main task facing incoming coach Ernesto Valverde is not determining which players he is able to select, but how he uses them.
Barca’s starting trio in midfield since Xavi’s demise has been Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta. That’s hardly a shabby bunch and, indeed, while those three players were part of a focussed collective unit during the 2014/15 season they were good enough to win a league, cup and European treble (with Rakitic scoring the opener in the Champions League final against Juventus).
But after entering into a cycle of individualism which left the team ragged and disjointed for much of last season, those same three players could not do anything to prevent humiliating 3-0 and 4-0 defeats against Juve and PSG respectively.
Rakitic, Busquets and Iniesta had not suddenly become bad players – they are obviously all world class – but they did find themselves in a team without a sense of direction, where far too much emphasis was placed on letting Lionel Messi and, to a lesser extent, Neymar do whatever they want and hope it would be enough.
Let’s be honest: if Rakitic had been taken out of the team that was battered and bruised by Juve and replaced by Verratti, it would not have made much difference.
Barca did not lose that game, or miss out to Real Madrid in La Liga, because their midfielders were not good enough. Rather, they fell short because their team structure was not good enough.
Taking one player out and replacing him with another would not have addressed the bigger collective issues which left them vulnerable in defence and one-dimensional in attack, and working out how his pieces can move together is much more important for Valverde than who those pieces actually are.
Verratti is a great player, but he won’t solve everything on his own.