Antoine Griezmann admits the prospect of playing in this season’s Champions League final at the Wanda Metropolitano has given Atletico Madrid’s players extra motivation.
Atleti have reached at least the quarter-finals of the competition in four of the past five seasons and host Italian giants Juventus on Wednesday in the first leg of their mouth-watering last-16 tie.
Lack of motivation is unlikely to be an issue against the runaway Serie A leaders, but Griezmann believes the tantalising potential of a home final could give Diego Simeone’s side a vital edge.
“It gives us and the fans even more motivation,” he told UEFA.com.
“There’s always a great atmosphere and that’s what we need, that’s what we want as players. A home final would be a celebration for everyone associated with Atletico.
“The path there will be very difficult, but we will try our best. We will do everything in our power to get there, and then we’ll see.”
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) February 18, 2019
Atleti have largely kept intact the side that won last season’s Europa League and Griezmann believes that continuity – and experience of big occasions – will stand them in good stead as they enter the Champions League knockout stages.
“We have players that have already played in Champions League, Europa League and World Cup finals,” he added.
“We’re already gaining in confidence in important games and moments and I think it’s at those times that we really raise our game and that helps us play better.
“We have new faces in the team, but I think that the fundamental base remains the same and that is what will help us to go far.”
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