After having experienced the worst season of his career, with a particularly discreet first part of 2022, Antoine Griezmann returned to the light at the beginning of the season. “Grizou” is decisive back on the lawn. Since his first appearance in La Liga with Atlético de Madrid on 15 August in Getafe (3-0), he made his debut by ending the longest goal drought of his career (23 consecutive club and national matches combined). Then last Monday he scored the only winning goal in Valencia (1-0).
With two goals in four appearances, the French international is already only one unit off the previous year’s league total (3 in 29 games). But the status of him among the questions of the Colchoneros. On Saturday night he did not make his debut in the draw against Real Sociedad (1-1). As in the first three games of the season, he was used as a substitute, entering after the hour (at 63 ‘in this case, after two appearances to the 62nd And one to the 64th).
A rather unusual role for the 2018 world champion who, despite the few goals scored last season, had always kept Diego Simeone’s confidence. Prior to this season, the Argentinian coach had never asked Antoine Griezmann to step off the bench in more than two consecutive matches in the six seasons that led him.
63 ‘| Real Sociedad – Athletes
Second change en nuestro equipo:
– Atletico Madrid (@Atleti) September 3, 2022
His role has changed. Despite the good start to the season, the Frenchman sees his place in place of Alvaro Morata, a player loaned to Juventus Turin in 2021-2022 because he was not Simeone’s first choice. And his 12 goals in 48 appearances (every 267 minutes) with the Old Lady are unlikely to have changed him.
“As long as Griezmann responds like this when I bring him in, it will continue like this. I play it when I feel like he will bring more to the team“, Diego Simeone replied curtly at the press conference after the success in Valencia, gleaned thanks to the entry of the Frenchman. Apparently, the Argentine describes an alleged strategy:”Sometimes a good thirty minutes is better than a bad sixty“.
Spanish media Relevo gives a reason that is anything but sporting. The Frenchman’s playing time is limited because Atlético de Madrid do not want his buy option to be activated. In financial difficulty, the Madrid club will be forced to pay 40 million to FC Barcelona if the player currently on loan plays more than 50% of the time available. Making him play less than thirty minutes per game this season is a solution found to avoid making the transfer of Antoine Griezmann definitive, or at least a way to put pressure on Barça, even in economic difficulties, to negotiate a contract drop. ‘ Purchase option.
Two months after the World Cup, the situation is not ideal for “Grizou”, especially as he is no longer the undisputed holder he was in the French squad and the rise of Christopher Nkunku has launched a long-distance competition. And now that the market is closed, the Mâcon native is stuck in Madrid.