Friday, November 15, 2019

Barca talk will not affect underrated Griezmann – Deschamps

SoccerNews in La Liga 18 Mar 2019

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Antoine Griezmann will remain focused despite fresh speculation he could leave Atletico Madrid for Barcelona, according to France head coach Didier Deschamps.

Griezmann has scored 18 goals in all competitions for Atletico this season but Saturday’s loss at Athletic Bilbao leaves them 10 points behind LaLiga leaders Barca.

Atletico crashed out of the Champions League last week, despite having established a 2-0 first-leg lead against Juventus, and Girona knocked them out of the Copa del Rey in January.

Barca have long been linked with Griezmann and the striker made a television documentary before the World Cup in which he mulled over his future at length before committing to Atletico.

But reports in Spain have indicated Griezmann is becoming unsettled at the Wanda Metropolitano and may be interested in joining Barca at the end of the season.

Griezmann is in the France squad as Deschamps’ side prepare to open their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign against Moldova and the coach has no concerns over the forward’s mentality.

“I talk about everything with him,” Deschamps told a news conference on Monday.

“He is sufficiently relaxed, has enough maturity. There is no problem with Antoine. If he is asked, he may have to think.

“What happened before the World Cup did not stop him from doing what he had to do and get this world title.”

A frustrated Griezmann questioned being overlooked for the Ballon d’Or last year as Luka Modric instead took the prize for his role in Croatia’s run to the World Cup final and Real Madrid’s third successive Champions League crown.

And Deschamps suggested the 27-year-old, whose goals fired Atletico to the Europa League title before he helped France triumph in Russia, is underrated outside of France.

“This has always been the case for French people, from abroad,” Deschamps added.

“Antoine has achieved a year in 2018 of very, very high quality, being decisive with his club in the Europa League before being with us to become world champion.

“He deserved, certainly, to have some rewards that he could not have. After, the media exposure in France could be a little more important, yes.

“His action against Uruguay, where he let Olivier Giroud take a penalty kick, proves Antoine’s state of mind in relation to the French team.”

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