On Wednesday night, French international forward Antoine Griezmann starred as Atletico Madrid recorded a comfortable 3-0 win over Marseille in the Europa League final in Lyon.
While Atletico’s organisation and defensive set-up were once again strong, it was the performance and the football intelligence of Griezmann that won the game for Diego Simeone’s side. Incredibly, it was the forward’s first trophy with Atletico in his four years in the Spanish capital.
For a while, Griezmann has been on the cusp of becoming a player of the highest order, in the Lionel Messi/Cristiano Ronaldo category. Maybe he is now ready to move up to that level.
Griezmann now highly consistent
Antoine Griezmann spent much of his Real Sociedad career playing as a winger or a wide forward. However, in the last few years, his move to a more central attacking position has meant that Griezmann has become a more influential and consistent performer.
The 27-year-old has now scored 29 goals in all competitions for Atletico. That is a good record for a player playing in a team based on organisation rather than attacking flair. Last season he scored 22 goals in just La Liga and the Champions League, and the season before that 29, so he has been highly prolific and consistent in front of goal in recent seasons.
Could he thrive elsewhere?
His performances have understandably attracted attention from elsewhere. A move to Barcelona has been mooted since last summer. The forward is keeping quiet over his future at the minute. However, the Catalan giants are red-hot favourites to sign the forward at odds of 2/7, despite interest from Manchester United.
The question is could Griezmann move up a level by playing with superior players at club level. Could he develop while playing alongside Barcelona’s Lionel Messi for example?
Griezmann would certainly be a fantastic summer addition to Ernesto Valverde’s squad. The Blaugrana have been far too reliant on Messi this season, so another talented attacking option would no doubt lift the attacking burden off Messi’s shoulders.
It is not only Griezmann’s goal tally that is impressive. The forward’s off the ball movement and awareness of his teammates and space around him are exceptional. He finds pockets of space when other forwards just stand still. He is the complete forward in many ways.
Griezmann would definitely have the football intelligence to link up with the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Luis Suarez and of course the man himself Messi. As an admirer of Barcelona, it would be great to watch, as I have admired Griezmann since his days at Real Sociedad.
Antoine Griezmann has a big summer ahead of him
The forward headed into Euro 2016 on home soil in hot form. The then-25-year-old was electric for Les Bleus, who suffered a shock 1-0 final defeat against Portugal in extra time.
The forward will once again be an integral part of the French national’s attempts to win another major international trophy at this summer’s World Cup. French boss Didier Deschamps has a highly talented group of players at his disposal.
Les Bleus are one of the favourites to lift the trophy this time around. If Griezmann is at his energetic best, then they have a very good chance of becoming world champions once again. No doubt, the 27-year-old will want his future settled prior to the kick-off of the World Cup. That could mean that his future will be decided in the next few weeks.
For me, I can see Griezmann finally making that long-awaited move to Catalonia and Barcelona. As an individual, he deserves the chance to win more silverware and titles. He will get that chance at the Nou Camp.
If he does make the move, I am sure Atletico fans will be disappointed. However, last night’s trophy was the first of the forward’s Atletico career, which is why I do believe he will look to move on this summer.
Will Antoine Griezmann still be an Atletico Madrid player next season?
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