Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has jokingly dismissed Manchester United as a “small team” amid reports linking the Premier League giants with a move for his club’s star forward Antoine Griezmann.
The 25-year-old France international is under contract at the Vicente Calderon but has been tipped to follow compatriot Paul Pogba to Old Trafford in a mega-money switch.
Griezmann has 15 goals in 31 appearances for Atleti this season and the Madrid club’s pending player registration ban places a greater importance on him staying.
Atletico were beaten by rivals Real Madrid in the 2014 and 2016 Champions League finals, while three-time winners United missed out on qualification for Europe’s top competition last term and face a well-matched scrap to seal a top-four place in the Premier League this time around.
“Manchester United?” Cerezo said when asked about Griezmann’s potential departure by reporters. “Small team.
“I believe in the contracts that people sign, that goes for [Diego] Simeone and Griezmann.”
Cerezo also offered clarification on earlier comments to Cadena COPE regarding Sergio Aguero.
Since leaving Atleti in 2011, Aguero has been Manchester City’s leading striker – standing third in the club’s all-time scoring charts – but the Argentina international has found himself on the bench for the past two Premier League matches under Pep Guardiola due to the flying start to life in England enjoyed by Brazilian sensation Gabriel Jesus.
Cerezo maintained his critique of Aguero for leaving Atletico before a richly successful period in their history but, having missed out on prime striking targets before the start of this season, he offered warm words for the 28-year-old.
“I said on the radio that Aguero was a fool, but he’s not a fool,” he explained.
“He is one of the best players in the history of football and I said he was stupid for leaving Atletico.
“He’s a great player and a good friend. I wish him all the luck of the world at Manchester City.”
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