DECRYPTION – At 31, the tricolor international has passed the age of chasing after statistics. With Atlético de Madrid as in the France team, he is retreating more and more on the ground.
Back off to better blow up. Or rather, stepping back to make others shine. This could be Antoine Griezmann’s motto. For the past few weeks, the Frenchman, who will turn 32 next March, has been concentrating on working behind the scenes to better distribute the gifts. Wearing the number 8 in the back since his return to Atlético de Madrid on August 31, 2021, “Grizou” no longer hesitates to go back down to the field to take up the duties of a midfielder. A role of which the native of Macon (71) took full measure during the World Cup.
“Antoine is the ideal team member who thinks “we” before thinking “I”,planted Philippe Montanier, during the last World Cup, in our columns. The idea of Didier (Deschamps, coach of the France team) is well felt to place him in the heart of the game, because he always wants more, loves to tackle, fight, make the pass, continues the current coach of Toulouse FC, who knew Antoine Griezmann at Real Sociedad (2011-2013). Before jokingly concluding:He’s good everywhere, this jerk.»
Placed as a real No. 8 in a three-man environment by the tricolor staff, Antoine Griezmann delighted his teammates in Qatar. Literally. Three assists during the competition. “Grizou” is now the best passer in the history of the Blues ahead of Zinédine Zidane and Thierry Henry. Just that. “Antoine has a competitive mind and I ask him different thingsexplained Didier Deschamps at the end of November. There is no sacrifice on his part because he is generous. He takes pleasure when he touches the ball, in his ability to make passes and knows that he will score fewer goals.»
Griezmann is everywhere
“He impresses me with his volume and helps us a lot in the middle“, estimated for his part his partner in selection, Aurélien Tchouameni. And what does the main interested party think? “I may be less close to the surface but I play good gamesanalyzed Griezmann in early December. I don’t worry about the goal. The team needs me more in the heart of the game, this defense-attack relationship, being close to my defense when we don’t have the ball.»
Back at Atlético, “Grizou” has not lost his good habits. Indispensable element of the Colchoneros, the Frenchman has started six games (out of six possible) since the resumption. In club or in selection, he is always the first name lying on the match sheet. On paper, the No. 8 of the Rojiblancos is most often associated with Alvaro Morata on the front of the attack. In reality, he is very free and walks all over the field. Most often in the midfield, the former Barcelonnais does not hesitate to come back down to the field (see opposite).
Less decisive, but…
Since his replacement in midfield, Antoine Griezmann has scored less. But it is no less decisive. Seven goals and nine offerings with the Madrid club this season, in 27 matches in all competitions. “Grizou” involved in a goal every 110 minutes with his club. Six La Liga goals since the start of the season, better than he could have hoped for according to the statistics, he who should have scored 4.69 goals given his situations in the league, as reported sofa score . 2.3 shots attempted per game, half the shots on target on average.
However, the French had a low period. 18 matches in a row without scoring, in club or selection. It is now done. Antoine Griezmann scorer and passer last weekend against Valladolid. If he was not worried, the former Real Sociedad striker heaves a sigh of relief. “We’ve been playing well since the World Cup, with intensity, working hard and creating chances, but we were missing goalsnoted “Grizou” after the meeting, at the microphone of DAZN. I was also largely at fault because I had chances and I did not conclude, he continued. This goal will help me a lot morally to score others»
This confidence, Atlético Madrid will need it. Dropped in La Liga standings, the Colchoneros are in fourth place and are 13 points behind the Barcelona leader. Before facing a crazy battle to secure a place in the Champions League next season, Karim Benzema and others stand in the way of Antoine Griezmann and his partners this Thursday, in the quarter-finals of the King’s Cup.