'I appreciate him and I love him' – Simeone hopes Griezmann will continue at Atletico Madrid

By Sports Desk August 20, 2022

Diego Simeone hopes Antoine Griezmann will stay with Atletico Madrid on a long-term basis after the France international helped Los Colchoneros make a positive start in LaLiga.

Griezmann came off the bench to score Atletico's third goal in a dominant opening-day win at Getafe on Monday, with Joao Felix recording three assists and Alvaro Morata scoring twice in a 3-0 triumph.

The 2018 World Cup winner is 12 months into a two-year loan spell in the Spanish capital, having endured a largely unhappy period with Barcelona between 2019 and 2021.

Reports suggest Atletico have an obligation to buy Griezmann should he hit a minimum number of appearances in LaLiga this season, and Simeone is keen to keep the 31-year-old.

"We talked about it in the Getafe post-game. I have spoken a lot about him, he is very complete, he knows what we want," Simeone said.

"Last year he already played some games in that role. We see him as adaptable because he has vision of the game, technique, he allows us to play with a more offensive player elsewhere. 

"I hope he continues with us, I appreciate him and I love him. 

"Hopefully he can continue in the line that he had in pre-season and in this Getafe game."

Only Joao Felix (13), Angel Correa (13) and the since-departed Luis Suarez (10) bettered Griezmann's tally of eight goals in all competitions for Atletico last season, despite the France forward making just 27 starts.

Meanwhile, Griezmann will be looking to build on his opening-day goal against a favoured opponent when Atletico host Villarreal on Sunday, having scored four goals in his last four outings against the Yellow Submarine in LaLiga.

It was Griezmann's fellow attacker Joao Felix who stole the headlines last time out, however, becoming the first player to provide three assists on LaLiga's first matchday since Jordi Cruyff did so against Las Palmas in 2000.

But Simeone was unwilling to get carried away with his praise for either him or in-form strike partner Morata, adding: "We are starting LaLiga. It is early to make such a deep reflection. 

"They are in a good moment, they had a great pre-season, they are both excited. They have maturity. Let's hope they continue like this."

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