Antoine Griezmann, 30 years old French player, produced one of his best performance of the season to thrill his Athletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone, an Argentine, and also a club legend, the only coach to have won the Laliga trophy during the era of Messi and Ronaldo.
The Laliga Champions must get without Griezmann’s threat at Liverpool on Wednesday for the return leg of the champions league group fixtures, where he was sent off during the first encounter due to an unintentional foul on Roberto Firmino (Liverpool player).
During the weekends encounter against Real Betis, there was a touch of vintage in Griezmann’s display, after a misfiring stint at Barcelona following the huge money transfer to the Catalans.
Since Griezmann made his Laliga debut with Real Sociedad against Villarreal on August 29th in 2010, only few players have scored more Spanish league goals than Griezmann’s haul of 157 in 403 games. However, those players are on another level and group. They are Christiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Karim Benzema.
95 of those goals scored by Griezmann have come in 188 games for Atletico, at a rate of one every 156.29 minutes, and there’s a huge sign that the Frenchman is rediscovering his confidence and form with the Rojiblancos.
Simeone, the Atletico Madrid coach watched the Frenchman create four chances against Betis, the joint most on the team, alongside Angel Correa and Yannick Carrasco. That total did not only beat his previous highest number in a game this season, but it doubled his entire season’s Laliga tally.
According to Opta, two of the chances he created were big chances, meaning that the person at the end was expected to score.That didn’t happen and neither resulting to a goal, the coach was impressed. Luis Suarez and Jose Gimenez were among those who could not put away the chance made by Griezmann at the back of the net.
“Looking at today’s game, we found the usual, old self of Griezman,” the Coach said. “Working, insisting, looking for scoring chances, getting into positions, having chances to score.That’s the way we were anticipating for him to be when we bought him on loan,” he added.
Three of the four goals Griezmann has scored since joining the Rojiblancos in August have come in the Champions league, with his double against Liverpool last time out in the competition not enough for Simeone’s side as they slipped to a 3-2 home defeat. Griezman’s red card in the second half of that game means he will not be involved at Anfield.
The Frenchman has 65 touches against Betis, the most he has had for Atletico in a game during this second spell, with this being his 11th appearance for the club since leaving Camp Nou(Barcelona).
All these are all promising signs for a player who appeared to have lost confidence at Barcelona, and Liverpool will be relieved they will not encounter his threat in Wednesday’s game.
Atletico sit a precarious second in Group in Group B, five points adrift of Liverpool and level on points with Porto,who travel to Italy to face Milan.
Simeone who watched from the stands against Betis after his dismissal in Atletico’s previous game against Levante, can now begin to think about another clash with in form Jürgen Klopp’s team.
“We were busy in Laliga,”Simeone said on Sunday evening. “We needed to win again to be up there with the title contenders, and starting tomorrow another competition begins for which we will start tonight or tomorrow morning to get prepared ahead of that UCL encounter.”