Atlético Madrid – Antoine Griezmann: failed season, precarious status and uncertain future


So there are fourteen matches that Antoine Griezmann has not found the net. Since January 6, the day the French scored his only goal in 2022 in the third round of the King’s Cup against Rajo Majadahonda (3rd Spanish division). Even during his two years of torture in Barcelona, ​​he had never experienced such an eclipse. Atlético is still waiting for the return of the one he loved so much during his first term with the Colchoneros. Today, he is going through his worst statistical season (8 goals, 5 assists) since his first two seasons in La Liga, with Real Sociedad, ten years ago.

Not everything is to be thrown away. His performance in the Champions League remains quite honorable, as evidenced by his round of 16 first leg at Old Trafford where he offered the only assist of the match and led Madrid’s projections with class. But the results are largely insufficient and no one can be satisfied with such an ordinary season of the 3rd of the Ballon d’Or 2016 and 2018. Former master at play of Atlético, leader of a finalist team in the Champions League and winner of the Europa League, Griezmann has slipped throughout the season in the hierarchy.

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Hierarchy shift

Diego Simeone has long maintained his confidence in him, but today he is no longer absolutely essential. Since the international break in March, he has become the first Madrid player to undergo coaching from El Cholo. First during the return against United then during the first quarter against City, against Alavès, and finally in Mallorca where his replacement even intervened at the break. In question, no doubt, his lack of rhythm after two months almost without playing between the end of 2021 and February. Sunday against Real Madrid, as was already the case in April against Espanyol Barcelona, ​​Griezmann started on the bench. As if to mark the fragility of his position in the hierarchy of attackers. How can it be otherwise for a player who scored the last of his three La Liga goals on November 28?

Antoine Griezmann signs a sluggish season with Atlético Madrid

Credit: Getty Images

But as early as November, Simeone had warned: “Comparisons are never good. He is no longer the same player. Antoine, in the past, was younger. This one has more years, more experience. He has come a long way, with Barcelona when he was asked to play, and with the France teamDid he expect to experience so many difficulties with him? The world champion, who has also seen his influence decline in the France team with the rise of Kylian Mbappé and Karim Benzema, is struggling to adapt. to the new system of an Atlético whose game goes more through the wings than through the heart of the reactor.

Should we still cling to memories?

His devotion to the collective, his perpetual sacrifices, his incessant withdrawals and his sense of duty: this is what remains of the Antoine Griezmann of Atlético period 2014-2019. He lacks the flamboyance, sense of purpose and efficiency that made him one of the very best players on the planet. At 31, and as he completes his third season with less than 14 goals in La Liga, will he be able to reverse the trend? If the sometimes toxic context of Barça could explain his failed adventure in Catalonia, his obvious failure for his return to Madrid has few mitigating circumstances.

His lively entry into play on Sunday reminds us that he is not a lost cause. But perhaps we should no longer cling to the memories of the conquering Grizou. “Obviously, he is going through a difficult period in terms of goals, which is not normal. But I’m not worried, we’ll see a really good Griezmann soon and he’ll be a goalscorer again“, tempered Simeone in mid-April. While he still belongs to Barça, Griezmann should see his purchase option (40 million euros) exercised by Atlético who are, despite everything, looking for a reinforcement of weight in attack. Madrid still believe in him.

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