The French announced to leave the club that saw him grow up and of which he was one of the pivots. But since his arrival in 2014, the Madrilenians have not won the Spanish championship. And failed in the Champions League.
"I made the decision to leave, to see other things and to take on other challenges. " With these words in a video message posted on the Twitter account of Atlético de Madrid that Antoine Griezmann announced Tuesday, May 14, his departure from the Spanish club. A year after his staged in a small film where he needed thirty minutes to cut the rumor of a possible transfer to FC Barcelona, the French appeared, hair in battle, to thank the fans of the club that he brought his "First important trophies".
. @AntoGriezmann: "These five years have been incredible, thank you all, you are in my heart". https://t.co/RLrEByh83T
Before signing with the Colchoneros, the striker had only known Real Sociedad, among the young and the pros, since 2005. In the summer of 2014, he was 23 years old when he joined the champions of Madrid Spain. He was quick to make an impression by delivering assists in his first games, especially in the final of the Spanish Super Cup won against Real Madrid. The same Real who had beaten Atlético a few months earlier in the final of the Champions League on penalties.
Since then, Griezmann has not only grown up well but has moved into another dimension, becoming a true figure of the club. With a record of 133 goals in 256 games, he is now one of the five best scorers in the history of Atlético, ahead of the legend of the club, Fernando Torres.
An international reputation
Among his feats of arms, his key role in the European epics of Madrid. First, in the Champions League, in 2016, scoring seven goals to reach the final. A course that left a taste of unfinished after another defeat on penalties, two years after the first, against the same enemy neighbors of Real Madrid. Then, in 2018, in the Europa League, with a double in the final against Olympique Marseille. He then offers his first European title, the third for Atlético after 2010 and 2012.
A shadow on the board, however, the Madrilenians have not won the Spanish league since he arrived in 2014. The fault of the ogres of FC Barcelona and Real Madrid and their slew of stars who have ruled since without sharing La Liga.
This rise in power has allowed him to make a name among the big and to enter the race for the Golden Ball in 2016 and 2018. But this is not enough to impress the jury. Last year, despite a European club trophy, and especially a World Cup with the French team, he again failed in third place behind the Croatian Luka Modric and the Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo.
His coach Diego Simeone, who arrived at Atlético in 2012, brought stability and discipline to the club. He has made Griezmann an essential element in his game system and he is raving about it. "When Antoine is lucid and in good shape, there is no player in the world who can understand and interpret football like him", he had slipped in an interview at France Football in November 2018. To the point of naming him captain this season, which was however half-hearted for the player and the club.
Take a new course
Author of 19 goals in all competitions, the French recorded his season the least prolific since his arrival in 2014. Side results, the second place in the Liga can not forget the disillusionment of elimination in the knockout stages in the Champions League. Despite a 2-0 win in the first leg, Madrid were swept aside by ruthless Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored a hat-trick (3-0) that sent Juventus to Turin in the quarter-finals.
For Atlético, we feel the end of an era. In a few weeks, the club recorded the starts of several executives of the team as defenders Lucas Hernandez and Diego Godin. That of Antoine Griezmann follows almost logically, as would be his transfer to FC Barcelona, which was already courting him last year.
At 27, his ambition is barely hidden. After leaving his mark on the European scene with Atlético in the Europa League, the French aims higher. A cup with big ears that could open the doors of the Golden Ball that has eluded him since 2016.