Eighty-two minutes. If Atlético de Madrid had just started their season, Antoine Griezmann’s playing time would not be a debate. Problem, the Colchoneros played their third La Liga match in Valencia on Monday evening and the Frenchman did not start any as a starter. This did not prevent him from allowing his club to win with a short header thanks to a successful goal scored just two minutes after coming into play (0-1).
“Grizou”, still on loan from FC Barcelona, is not really the type to come out of his box to complain about his treatment. When he scored, the Frenchman celebrated like any other player would. Monday night, no more than against Getafe at the start of the season, he did not seem to be inhabited by a feeling of revenge. Has he already integrated that his future, in the short term at least, should go through the bench of substitutes? If the starting lineup of “Cholo” Simeone has moved over the month of August, the duo Alvaro Morata-Joao Félix has remained unstoppable in front. He also posted two goals for the first on two assists from the second.
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Antoine Griezmann celebrates his goal against Valencia
Credit: Getty Images
Substitute to substitute: Griezmann’s downgrade continues
And why would the Argentine coach of Atlético de Madrid change his plans? After all, having Antoine Griezmann on the bench is a bargain. Good teammate, intelligent player, the basic man of Didier Deschamps from 2016 to 2021 in the France team knows how to take advantage of this particular status of “supersub”. What Diego Simeone noted on Monday evening in Valencia: “As long as Griezmann manages to respond the way he does, having him on the pitch is very important and I understand putting him on when it best suits the team.“.
With these words, the Argentinian technician consecrates the special status of his player. He almost also sets in stone his future as a substitute. With this sentence, does the Cholo want to support the fact that Antoine Griezmann is no longer a starter in a team at the level of Atlético de Madrid? More often in the starting lineup last season, the tricolor striker went from being replaced very, very often to being the one who must make the difference at the end of the game. Funny downgrading that continues.
“The opponent controlled the game better at the start of the game, but apart from the statistics, we are the ones who have the best goalscoring chances: Morata’s, Griezmann’s goal, Carrasco’s, Griezmann’s againnoted Simeone again. It is true that the substitutes brought something to the ball outfit and to the production of the game. They brought us peace of mind.” But is Griezmann’s downgrading only on sporting criteria?
The famous clause: does Simeone want to save time?
Not long ago, Mundo Deportivo echoed a clause, very embarrassing for Atleti, included by FC Barcelona in the player’s loan: if Antoine Griezmann plays more than 45 minutes in 50% of the club’s matches this season , he will have to pay Barça the incredible sum of… 40 million euros. This explains why rumors still surround “Grizou” at the end of the transfer window and, perhaps also, why Diego Simeone confines him to the bench. Is he trying to save time?
With a Champions League collected over just over seven weeks, for six matches (against Porto, Leverkusen and Bruges for the Matelassiers), the “Cholo” will need everyone, including Griezmann and probably not only in as a substitute. In the 3-5-2, the French can occupy several positions. Rather that of second attacker but the presence of a real sentry with Koke or Kondogbia can allow him to enjoy a certain freedom even in the middle. Definitely, Diego Simeone will need Antoine Griezmann. It remains to be seen how.
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