Out of touch Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann is everything wrong with modern game

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Antoine Griezmann has called all the shots over his transfer saga.

A fundamental flaw in a good deed or act of goodwill is self-promotion and attention seeking.

Step forward, Antoine Griezmann.

The Atletico Madrid star displayed this in abundance after committing his future to Diego Simeone’s men on Thursday evening, via an hour-long television documentary about himself.

In the dying embers of the programme and also via social media, he confirmed he would be staying put at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Loyalty in football has been a dying quality in the game for the best part of two decades now.

It would be unfair to accuse the France international of being disloyal given he opted to reject Barcelona‘s advances and the prospect of playing second fiddle to Lionel Messi. But, the way he went about his decision smacked of poor taste and modern-day player power at its worse.

“My fans, my team, my home: Atletico Madrid.”

Were those genuine words from his mouth? Maybe, but Griezmann’s TV broadcast, shown on the Movistar station in Spain, apparently had two pre-recorded endings; one in which he would reveal his plans to stay, and the other, dropping a bombshell he would join Blaugrana.

Reportedly, Griezmann only made up his mind one hour before the show was broadcast. Quite remarkable.

He managed to control his own narrative from start to finish and simply had both Atletico and Barcelona in the palm of his hands. Watching a multi-millionaire footballer deliberate a decision within the confines of his own mansion showed just how out of touch he is.

This had all been in the planning since April – with Barca defender Gerard Pique, a shareholder in Movistar, tweeting he was getting his popcorn ready, in eager anticipation of which way Griezmann would turn.

Atleti fans are delighted their star player will continue his Red and Whites career but they could be forgiven for feeling used and taken for a ride.

For a club built on a local, proud and devoted fanbase, as well as history, they have every right to make sure Griezmann has to win them over again with star performances at the beginning of next season.

From a footballing perspective, has Griezmann made the right call? Opportunities to join a club like Barcelona do not come around often and this was his prime chance to make the move having also halted their advances this time last summer.

Atleti’s ability to keep hold of the 27-year-old – a man at the peaks of his powers – largely boils down to the presence of Simeone.

Few other managers in the recent history of the game have been capable of having such a hold over their players. The Argentine has a unique ability to not only squeeze every drop out of his squad but also keep them on side like one family.

For as long as he stays at the helm, Atletico will continue to compete and challenge at the summit of La Liga and in European competition – as they did this past season.

Indeed, the 2019 Champions League final will be contested at Atleti’s one-year old stunning 68,000-seater venue – so expect them to be in the mix on their home patch.

Griezmann’s actions are unlikely to have been met with complete warmth from Simeone, but having the Frenchman at his disposal moving forward is ultimately to his benefit.

The Les Bleus striker has certainly set a trend of transfer saga chaos, played out by the player and his internal team, which we might well see again when the Neymar to Real Madrid rumour heads into overdrive this summer.

The laughable thing about this whole Griezmann to Barcelona transfer tale is that he should have put it to the backburner especially with a World Cup campaign about to get underway with France.

Sadly, Griezmann was only thinking about himself when he should have put his country first. That, in a nutshell, is what today’s players are concerned about now: themselves.

‘The Beautiful Game’ isn’t what it used to be.

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Zinedine Zidane steps down as Real Madrid manager

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Zinedine Zidane has shockingly resigned as head coach of Real Madrid just days after leading the Spanish club to a third- straight Champions League trophy.

The 45-year-old Frenchman delivered Real to their fourth European Cup in five years – and third under his management – by masterminding victory over Liverpool in Kiev on Saturday.

However, the fact that Real could only finish third in LaLiga had led to persistent speculation about his long-term future and on Thursday morning a press conference was hastily arranged so Zidane could reveal he had decided to step down.

In an address which was broadcast on Marca’s official Facebook page, Zidane said: “I have taken the decision to not continue going into the next season. For me and for everybody, I think the moment to change has arrived. It was not an easy decision.

“I will be close to this club for the rest of my life. I want to thank the fans, who always supported me both as a coach and a player. There were tough moments during the season and although I was sometimes whistled at, I want to thank the fans.

“This is a beautiful moment as we have just won a third straight Champions League and I have now reflected and made this decision. Even the players need this change, I must thank them too.”

Real president Florentino Perez, who accompanied Zidane at the press conference, said: “This was a totally unexpected decision, Zidane informed me of his choice yesterday. I thank him for the work he has done.”

Zidane, the former Real, Juventus and Bordeaux midfielder, was understood to be under contract in Madrid until 2020.

Stepping up from managing the ‘Castilla’ B team, he replaced Rafael Benitez in January 2016 and although Real were runners-up to Barcelona at the end of the league campaign, he toasted European glory as city rivals Atletico Madrid were vanquished after penalties in Milan.

Zidane followed up his maiden Champions League crown as a coach with a LaLiga title and in June 2017 his side delivered a more emphatic European Cup final triumph as his former employers Juve were humbled 4-1 in Cardiff.

Although Real lost only two of their first 15 league matches in the recently concluded Spanish championship, Ernesto Valverde’s Barca were able to run away with the league following their vital 3-0 El Clasico win at the Bernabeu in December.

Zidane did stabilise results and duly blazed a trail to Kiev in the continental competition, but reports of dissatisfaction with his approach to domestic matters – namely the handling of star forward Gareth Bale, who has publicly expressed his own unhappiness with a reduced role – meant for regular rumours of a potential exit.

The quest to find a high-profile successor will now commence. Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and the Italian Maurizio Sarri, most recently of Napoli, have all been linked with the Bernabeu hotseat.

It remains to be seen whether Zidane will opt to take a break from the game or pursue a fresh challenge immediately. There are limited top-level vacancies available in European club football at present, but the fallout from this summer’s World Cup in Russia might present a first international challenge to the Marseille-born coach.

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Zinedine Zidane set to clarify Real Madrid future

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Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane looks set to clarify his position at the Bernabeu after calling a press conference in the Spanish capital for Thursday afternoon.

The 45-year-old Frenchman led Real to their fourth Champions League trophy in five years – and third under his management – by masterminding victory over Liverpool in Kiev on Saturday, but Los Blancos could only finish third in La Liga.

Speculation about Zidane’s long-term future persists and it appears that uncertainty might be addressed as, on Thursday morning, the club posted a website statement which said the boss would speak to the media at 1pm local time (3pm UAE time).

Zidane, the former Real, Juventus and Bordeaux midfielder, is understood to be under contract in Madrid until 2020.

Stepping up from managing the ‘Castilla’ B team, he replaced Rafael Benitez in January 2016 and although Real were runners-up to Barcelona at the end of the league campaign, he toasted European glory as city rivals Atletico Madrid were vanquished after a penalty shootout in Milan.

Zidane followed up his maiden Champions League crown as a coach with a LaLiga title and in June 2017 his side delivered a more emphatic European Cup final triumph as his former employers Juve were humbled 4-1 in Cardiff.

Although Real lost only two of their first 15 league matches in the recently concluded Spanish championship, Ernesto Valverde’s Barca were able to run away with the league following their vital 3-0 El Clasico win at the Bernabeu in December.

Zidane did stabilise results and duly blazed a trail to Kiev in the continental competition, but reports of dissatisfaction with his approach to domestic matters – namely the handling of star forward Gareth Bale, who has publicly expressed his own unhappiness with a reduced role – meant for regular reports of a potential summer exit.

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