Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann feared that head coach Diego Simeone’s move to Paris Saint-Germain was “a done deal” a matter of months ago.
Simeone caused a stir when he claimed he would have to consider his future following his side’s penalty shootout defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League final in May.
Speculation arose that the former Argentina midfielder could replace Laurent Blanc at PSG, though he later committed his future to Atletico as the Ligue 1 champions appointed Unai Emery.
Griezmann, who was himself linked with a move away to the French champions during the transfer window, is relieved that Simeone opted to stay.
“I was at the European Championship and in France they were saying that it was almost a done deal,” Griezmann told Onda Cero when asked about the Simeone rumours.
“I was afraid that he would not be here. I still need to work with him, learn from him. Atleti needs him.
“He told me that he was going to stay, that he was talking to the club and that everything would be fine – that conversation reassured me.”
Griezmann starred for Atletico last season, scoring 32 goals in all competitions, while his six goals and two assists took France to the Euro 2016 final and earned him the Golden Boot.
The 25-year-old has scored five in as many LaLiga matches this season to further enhance his case for a spot among the final three nominees for the Ballon d’Or, and he admits that winning the award would be a special moment.
“I want to continue to grow with Atletico – the club can achieve great things,” he said. “I try to be the best and give the maximum so that people can say I’m among the top players.
“But I don’t want them to compare me to one or the other – I want people to know me for being Griezmann.
“It would be wonderful for me, and for my team-mates at the club and with France, to win the Ballon d’Or. If I don’t get it, it means that I just have to continue at this level and keep going.”
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