Antoine Griezmann is just as happy playing for Barcelona as he is for France despite rumours of dressing room unrest amid an underwhelming start at the Catalan giants, his club and national side team-mate Clement Lenglet said on Tuesday.
“I am with him at the club and he is very happy there too. He’s someone who is smiling every day and that doesn’t change when he arrives in the French team,” Lenglet told reporters ahead of France’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Iceland and Turkey.
“He makes the most of everything, he loves making jokes and he doesn’t change whether he’s with the French team or Barcelona.”
Griezmann was left on the bench for Barca’s 4-0 drubbing of Sevilla on Sunday after failing to live up to his 120 million-euro ($135 million) price tag in the opening weeks of the season, scoring three goals in nine games.
Lionel Messi has also denied suggestions of a rift between him and the Frenchman, who joined from Atletico Madrid in July, as he struggles to find a settled position in Ernesto Valverde’s three-man forward line.
“For me, he’s a player that has just arrived — and at a club like Barca, who play a little differently from other clubs — and he’s already scored three goals. He works a lot for the team.
“He helps us a lot with his talent, with his defensive effort, because he is a player who sacrifices a lot for the team. I don’t think there is any problem with Antoine Griezmann.”
Griezmann was replaced in Barca’s starting line-up against Sevilla by another French forward, Ousmane Dembele, who scored before being sent off for dissent late on.
Dembele will miss the clash with Real Madrid on October 26 if banned for two games, continuing a disjointed start to the campaign for the 22-year-old, who has already sat out six games this term through injury.
“If he gets consistent game time, he is a player who has all the qualities to play for the French team,” said Lenglet, who is expected to start France’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Iceland on Friday and Turkey on Monday.
“Unfortunately he got this red card that will slow him down a bit again. He has a lot of talent, he’s unpredictable, he has qualities that are quite unusual. But it takes experience so he can play matches and perform.”
Provided by Press Association Sports
Former Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has announced his retirement from football.
Schweinsteiger has called time on a glittering career which featured a World Cup triumph with Germany in 2014 and numerous trophies with Bayern Munich, including the 2013 Champions League.
After spending most of his career with Bayern, the 35-year-old had two seasons at Old Trafford before moving in 2017 to Chicago Fire, who failed to reach the MLS play-offs at the end of last month.
Schweinsteiger wrote on social media: “Dear Fans, the time has now come and I will be finishing my active career at the end of this season.
“I would like to thank both you and my teams FC Bayern, Manchester United, Chicago Fire and the German national team. You made this unbelievable time possible for me!
The Time has now come: I would like to thank both, you and my teams @FCBayern, @ManUtd, @ChicagoFire and @DFB_Team and of course @AnaIvanovic and my family for their support!— Basti Schweinsteiger (@BSchweinsteiger) October 8, 2019
Thank you! pic.twitter.com/jNSrXGNpxF
“And of course I would like to thank my wife Ana Ivanovic and my family for their support. Saying goodbye as an active player makes me feel a little nostalgic, but I am also looking forward to the exciting challenges that await me soon. I will remain faithful to football.
“Many, many thanks for the time we spent together, I will always have a place for you in my heart.”
Schweinsteiger joined Bayern at the age of 14 and went on to make more than 500 appearances for the club as they dominated German football.
As well as winning eight Bundesliga titles, Schweinsteiger also won the DFB-Pokal Cup on seven occasions before joining Manchester United on a three-year contract in July 2015.
It proved to be an unsuccessful spell and Schweinsteiger was sidelined when Jose Mourinho replaced Louis Van Gaal in charge, with Mourinho reportedly unhappy that the World Cup winner often returned to Germany for treatment on injuries.
Although United won the FA Cup in 2016, Schweinsteiger made just four appearances for the club the following season before his move to Chicago.
Schweinsteiger retired from international football in August 2016 after making 121 appearances for the national side.
Provided by Press Association Sports
The Belgium national squad trained in Tubize on Monday, ahead of their upcoming Euro 2020 Group I qualifiers.
Most of the big names in Roberto Martinez’s 28-man group stayed in the gym to work off the aches and pains picked up with their clubs over the weekend – Thibaut Courtois might have wished he’d done the same.
The Real Madrid goalkeeper was subjected to an unusual stretching regime by one of the coaches, where he appeared to be kicked repeatedly quite close to a very sensitive area.
There appeared to be no ill effects though and Courtois looks set to take part against San Marino on October 10 in Brussels and Kazakhstan three days later in Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana).