Barcelona coach Xavi believes the club and Atletico Madrid have reached an agreement for the permanent transfer of Antoine Griezmann to Los Colchoneros.

Reports emerged earlier this week suggesting the two LaLiga giants had struck a €19.9million deal for the Frenchman, who is on loan at Atletico from Barca.

Griezmann made his return to Atletico on an initial temporary deal last year, with the two-year agreement set to become a permanent move for a reported €40m in 2023 if a specific clause was met.

The clause required Griezmann to play at least 30 minutes – not including stoppage time – in a percentage of Atletico's matches, though the exact proportion is unclear as some media outlets claim it is over 80 per cent and others suggest it is around 50 per cent.

Nevertheless, Atletico coach Diego Simeone had been carefully managing Griezmann's minutes seemingly to avoid triggering the €40m clause – the Frenchman has completed two full LaLiga games this term, and in his other six appearances he featured for no more than 30 minutes each time.

Atletico's tactics appears to have succeeded in getting Griezmann's price reduced considerably, with Xavi revealing an agreement was in place.

"The club tells me that they have reached an agreement, but it is not official," he told reporters on Saturday.

"If there is an agreement, all parties are happy. I wish the player the best."

Griezmann controversially joined Barca from Atletico in 2019 when the Blaugrana triggered his €120m release clause.

But in two full LaLiga campaigns at Camp Nou, Griezmann struggled to rediscover the form that attracted Barca to him in the first place, scoring 22 goals in 71 league games – he netted as many times in a single season on two separate occasions for Atletico in the past.

Although he was even less productive in front of goal upon his return to Atletico, scoring just three in 26 league outings last term, Simeone remains a strong advocate for the 31-year-old.

Real Madrid are keen on Jude Bellingham, and so too are Premier League giants Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool.

Given the hot pursuit, some are said to be considering alternative targets, particularly Liverpool who had a quiet off-season in the transfer market.

Jurgen Klopp's Reds added Darwin Nunez, with Sadio Mane exiting, but they did not make a major midfield signing in the off-season.

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL EYE MUSIALA AS BELLINGHAM ALTERNATIVE

Liverpool are among the clubs circling for Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham. Should they miss out, they will turn to Bayern Munich's Jamal Musiala, according to the Mirror.

Germany international Musiala spent time with Southampton and Chelsea in his youth and was capped by England at age-group level.

Sky Germany reports Liverpool are among several top clubs keeping tabs on the 19-year-old, although it is believed he has no plans to exit the Allianz Arena anytime soon.

ROUND-UP

– Tottenham are the latest club to join the race to sign Milan's Portuguese forward Rafael Leao, reports Calciomercato. Chelsea and Manchester City have been linked with Leao who is set to receive a fresh contract offer from Milan.

– Calciomercato claims Real Madrid will rival Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain, who are both keen on Inter defender Milan Skriniar. The Slovakian's contract ends in mid-2023, prompting interest, although Inter are trying to renew his deal.

– Marca claims Barcelona have reached an agreement to permanently sell Antoine Griezmann to Atletico Madrid for half of the €40m asking price. Griezmann is in the second season of a two-year loan deal, but Atletico have been playing him in on reduced minutes to avoid triggering a clause in his contract.

– Football Insider reports Arsenal are monitoring Marcus Rashford's situation at Manchester United, with the forward's contract to expire at the end of this season.

– Southampton are on the brink of sacking manager Ralph Hasenhuttl after managing only seven points from eight games to start this Premier League, according to the Telegraph. Hasenhuttl has been at the Saints helm since 2018.

– There is a manager merry-go-around with Nottingham Forest's under-pressure boss Steve Cooper in contention to replace Hasenhuttl at Southampton, claims the Daily Mail.

Rafael Leao has plenty of admirers, having scored three goals in six Serie A appearances for Milan this term.

The 23-year-old provided an assist for Portugal's first goal in Saturday's 4-0 win in the Czech Republic.

The forward was voted the Serie A Most Valuable Player last season as the Rossoneri won the Scudetto.


TOP STORY – MILAN EAGER TO EXTEND RAFAEL LEAO DEAL

Milan have put forward an offer to tie down Manchester City and Chelsea target Rafael Leao on a new contract, reports Calciomercato.

The report claims that the Rossoneri are willing to increase his salary beyond the €2million he currently receives, up to €6.5m, as they look to fend off rival interest.

Milan understand that it may be difficult to convince the Portuguese to stay at the San Siro, although he is contracted until 2024.


ROUND-UP 

Barcelona will cut their losses with Antoine Griezmann on a deal to sell him back to Atletico Madrid, according to Mundo Deportivo. The initial agreement included a purchase clause of €35-40m but Atletico have avoided triggering that, creating a stand-off. The Blaugrana are now prepared to lower their asking price with Atletico set to offer €25m in January.

– The Mirror claims Atletico are considering a move to sign Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez as Jan Oblak's successor, with the Slovenian out of contract at the end of this season.

– The race for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham's signature continues, with The Sun claiming Manchester City are confident they will beat Liverpool and Manchester United to him. It is understood Dortmund are willing to sell the 19-year-old for £83m.

– Manchester United are weighing up whether to move to extend goalkeeper David de Gea's contract another year, reports the Sunday Telegraph. The Spaniard is out of contract at the end of this season.

Everything appeared to be heading towards Barcelona and Ousmane Dembele parting on poor terms after a largely unsatisfactory association.

"Either he renews, or we look for an exit," Xavi said in January, fielding the latest in a series of questions about the winger.

With Dembele failing to agree to a new Barcelona contract at the start of 2022, director of football Mateu Alemany was even more forthright, declaring: "He must leave the club immediately."

Fast forward eight months, and the unpredictable attacker has emerged as a key cog in a revitalised Barca side, one tipped to compete with Real Madrid after making an unbeaten start in LaLiga.

Having been in the cold since Euro 2020, Dembele is also back in the France squad for their upcoming Nations League matches, with his sights set on claiming a spot in Didier Deschamps' party for the World Cup in Qatar.

Football loves a redemption arc, and that of Dembele in 2022 is up there with the very best in recent memory.

On the eve of his France return, Stats Perform looks at Dembele's journey from €105million flop to the creative hub of Xavi's side, asking whether a World Cup flourish is next for the winger.

Injury woes and the long shadow of Neymar

Barcelona's failings following Neymar's 2017 move to Paris Saint-Germain have been well-documented, with Dembele long viewed as the ultimate personification of the shambolic recruitment policy during Josep Maria Bartomeu's tenure.

The Blaugrana parted with an initial €105m for Dembele, who recorded 30 goal contributions (10 goals, 20 assists) and created 100 chances in his lone season with Borussia Dortmund.

That substantial fee saw Dembele, a talented yet raw 20-year-old, touted as a replacement for Neymar, a pressure that appeared to weigh heavily on the Frenchman; he needed over seven months to score his first goal in LaLiga, finally finding the net at Celta Vigo in April 2018.

While Ernesto Valverde led Barca to a domestic double in 2017-18, Dembele's own contribution was limited by a series of injury setbacks, which represented a sign of things to come.

 

Dembele made just 17 league appearances and 12 starts in his debut campaign, having been ruled out until January 2018 after suffering a serious hamstring injury within a month of his arrival.

In three of Dembele's first five campaigns at Barca, injuries ruled him out for 100 days or more. Between the beginning of 2017-18 and the end of 2020-21, meanwhile, he started just 36 per cent of the club's league games.

On the rare occasions Dembele did stay fit, meanwhile, his output was negligible in a side increasingly reliant on Lionel Messi's brilliance. Dembele's tally of 17 league goals and 14 assists in his first four seasons hardly represented value for Barcelona's mammoth investment, meaning the winger was considered ripe for a sale as the club's economic position worsened.

From contract rebel to key man: Spearheading the Xavi revival 

Even LaLiga's casual observers must have grown tired of discussions over the economic "levers" being pulled by Joan Laporta's regime. But before the sales of future TV rights and production companies, shifting Dembele was touted as a means by which to balance the books after the January arrival of Ferran Torres.

With a loan move for Adama Traore leaving Barcelona's forward line well-stocked, the message could not have been clearer; if Dembele would not agree to fresh terms, he was surplus to requirements.

But with Traore struggling on his return to Spain and Torres regularly deployed centrally, Xavi decided to utilise Dembele once the January transfer window closed. He was richly rewarded after reinstating him on the right of Barca's attack.

Since Xavi took charge in November 2021, Dembele's 17 assists in all competitions is bettered only by Messi (22) and Kevin De Bruyne (21) among players in Europe's top five leagues, while his 15 LaLiga assists during that time is a team-high.

Dembele also leads Barca's charts for chances created (63), chances created from open play (52) and touches in the opposing box (126) under Xavi in LaLiga, finally combining his menacing dribbling ability with genuine threat and creativity.

 

And Dembele's 68 dribbles completed in that time – also a team-high – show he has not sacrificed the individual skill that attracted Barcelona's attentions five years ago. 

Three months on from Dembele being booed by his own supporters during a Europa League clash with Napoli, Xavi said: "When he has not been involved, we have noticed."

The former midfield maestro was right. Barcelona won two-thirds of the league games Dembele started last season, and 47.8 per cent of those he didn't.

That impact meant Dembele's belated contract renewal, finalised in July, was received with enthusiasm by everyone at Camp Nou, with the winger subsequently going from strength to strength.

The tonic to Deschamps' blues?

If some thought the arrival of Raphinha might threaten Dembele's place in Xavi's side, he has made them eat their words at the start of the new campaign.

Having tallied the most assists (13) and expected assists (9.2 xA) in LaLiga last season, Dembele has recorded four league goal contributions since the August restart (two goals, two assists), forcing his way back into Deschamps' thoughts.

By the end of August, Dembele had been involved in more shots (15) as a consequence of ball carries than any other player in LaLiga, and his dynamic, unpredictable style may be just what Les Bleus require.

 

Dembele was used sparingly at Euro 2020, with Antoine Griezmann preferred alongside Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe as France won just once in four outings. However, it's easy to see why Dembele's ability to hug either touchline might appeal to Deschamps, offering him tactical flexibility when several other options appear compromised. 

Griezmann's lack of game-time at Atletico Madrid has been subject to much debate in recent weeks, while Kingsley Coman is out of France's latest squad through injury. Benzema's own injury scare, meanwhile, will no doubt have sharpened Deschamps' mind on the need for a plan B.

With France failing to win any of their first four Nations League games this time around, Dembele's Barcelona revival may have come at the perfect time.

Should Dembele carry his club form onto the international stage, potentially contributing to the first successful World Cup defence since Brazil's 1962 win, his 2022 will surely go down as one of football's most emphatic comebacks. 

Antoine Griezmann was the headline inclusion in Atletico Madrid's starting XI for the derby with Real Madrid on Sunday.

Griezmann has scored three goals for Atleti this term, but all of his seven appearances had come from the substitutes bench.

Diego Simeone suggested this has in part been a financial decision, with Atleti set to owe Barcelona a fee for the on-loan forward should he play over half of the available minutes.

Yet he got the nod ahead of Alvaro Morata for the match at the Civitas Metropolitano, starting alongside Joao Felix.

Griezmann's introduction was one of five changes made by Simeone, whose team lost 2-0 to Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Carlo Ancelotti, meanwhile, made two alterations to the Madrid team that started in Wednesday's win over RB Leipzig.

Ferland Mendy and Toni Kroos came in for Nacho Fernandez and Eduardo Camavinga respectively.

With Karim Benzema out injured, Rodrygo – who has scored in his last two LaLiga appearances – was selected to lead Madrid's line along with Federico Valverde and Vinicius Junior.

Ancelotti has lost four of his six meetings as a manager with Simeone in LaLiga (W1 D1), while Atleti have the chance to win consecutive games against Madrid in Spain's top flight for the first time since February 2015

Didier Deschamps insisted he will not take a half-fit Paul Pogba to the World Cup after France saw several stars ruled out of their upcoming Nations League fixtures.

Pogba has yet to make a competitive appearance since returning to Juventus on a free transfer in July. He is a doubt for the tournament in Qatar after opting to undergo surgery to solve a lesion to the lateral meniscus in his right knee.

The 2018 World Cup winner is not the only injury concern for Deschamps ahead of Nations League contests with Austria and Denmark this month.

Real Madrid talisman Karim Benzema has been left out of their squad after suffering a knee injury, though Carlo Ancelotti said the striker was "progressing well" earlier this week.

Meanwhile, N'Golo Kante, Presnel Kimpembe, Lucas Hernandez and Kingsley Coman are also out.

Pogba's injury is the most worrying for Deschamps, who was unable to offer any update on his condition on Thursday.

"It is impossible today to affirm anything [except] through the intervention and the treatment protocol he has," Deschamps said.

"I know very well Paul, with whom I talk regularly. Today, no one, even him, can say whether he will be there [at the World Cup]. I don't know if he can be cured.

"Since I've been here, I've never for a single final tournament taken a player if he was not fully recovered. Paul, he's not here to amuse the gallery.

"If he is recovered, it would be a very good thing. He won't come if he's not fit. He doesn't want that either. It's inconceivable. The number of players who will be there, they will all be ready to play.

"It is a question in relation to the competition, those who will be selected will be able to answer these requirements."

Benzema's absence means Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann could be handed an opportunity in Les Bleus' upcoming games, despite seeing his game-time limited at club level this season.

With Atleti reportedly looking to avoid meeting a purchase clause in Griezmann's loan deal, the striker has played just 192 minutes in all competitions this season, though he has still found the net three times.

Deschamps is not concerned by the 31-year-old's lack of action, adding: "At least he's not tired. He has a situation that you know limits his playing time.

"He remains an important and decisive player for his club. He aspires to better, to do more. It's been a good moment [even though] he hasn't done a full 90 minutes."

Deschamps has named three uncapped players in his 23-man squad for this month's fixtures: Eintracht Frankfurt's Randal Kolo Muani, and Monaco duo Youssouf Fofana and Benoit Badiashile.

France have posted two draws and two defeats in their first four games in Group A1 of the Nations League, leaving the world champions battling relegation from the competition's top tier. They host Austria on September 22 and travel to face Denmark three days later.

France squad: Alphonse Areola (West Ham), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Mike Maignan (Milan); Benoit Badiashile (Monaco), Jonathan Clauss (Marseille), Theo Hernandez (Milan), Jules Kounde (Barcelona), Ferland Mendy (Real Madrid), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), William Saliba (Arsenal), Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich), Raphael Varane (Manchester United); Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid), Youssouf Fofana (Monaco), Matteo Guendouzi (Marseille), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Aurelien Tchouameni (Real Madrid); Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig), Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid); Olivier Giroud (Milan), Randal Kolo Muani (Eintracht Frankfurt), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain).

Atletico Madrid are not negotiating with Barcelona over a permanent move for Antoine Griezmann, according to the club's chief executive Enrique Cerezo.

Speculation mounted on Tuesday that Atleti were in talks with Barca to sign the forward permanently.

Griezmann re-joined Atleti on loan from Barca last year, after spending two largely forgettable seasons at Camp Nou following a €120million move in 2019.

The France international featured 26 times in LaLiga last season, making 21 starts and scoring three goals.

He has not started any of Atleti's six games across all competitions this term, playing just 165 minutes, with Diego Simeone suggesting finances are a factor.

Atleti will reportedly owe Barca €40m if Griezmann plays over 50 per cent of the minutes in matches and, as such, the 31-year-old has consistently been subbed on after the hour.

 

It has not impacted his form, however, with Griezmann taking up a super-sub mantle, scoring three goals, including a 101st-minute winner against Porto in the Champions League last week.

Amid speculation of Barca taking legal action, talks between the clubs were said to be under way over a permanent move, but these rumours were shot down by Cerezo.

As reported by Marca, Cerezo said: "We haven't met with Barcelona nor do we have news that we are going to meet.

"The Griezmann issue is very clear, you already know it or you can imagine it. So until everything is resolved, if there is something to solve, we are at the same point.

"At the moment we are at the same point, nothing has changed with Barca on Griezmann. Right now there is nothing, it is the same as when we started the season."

Atleti face Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday in their second Champions League outing of the campaign.

Griezmann has been involved in 28 goals in 35 group stage appearances for Atleti, scoring 20 times and providing eight assists.

He has scored in their second match of the tournament in his last three seasons with the club, against Chelsea in 2017-18, Club Brugge in 2018-19 and Milan last term.

Alvaro Morata hailed fellow Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann as being "fundamental" to the team's success ahead of their Champions League trip to Bayer Leverkusen.

Atleti made a strong start to their Champions League campaign against Porto last week, clinching a 2-1 victory in dramatic fashion courtesy of Griezmann's 101st-minute header.

That game was just the second in the competition's history to feature three goals after the 90th minute, while Griezmann's winner was the latest Champions League goal on record, scored after 100 minutes and 21 seconds (both stats excluding extra-time).

Griezmann's campaign has been overshadowed by suggestions Atleti are managing his minutes to avoid activating a purchase clause in the two-year loan deal they struck with Barcelona, but he has impressed when called upon.

Despite playing just 165 minutes in all competitions, Griezmann has scored three goals this season, a joint team-high alongside Morata.

Meanwhile, the 2018 World Cup winner has averaged a goal every 55 minutes in all competitions, by far the best ratio in Atleti's squad.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Morata showered his strike partner with praise, saying: "Antoine is a player who does not have to explain what he is. 

"He is fundamental for us not only when he is on the field, but also for the group. 

"He is always smiling, happy, he contributes many positive things to the group. He also transmits many positive things to us whether he plays or not. 

"He is one of the most important footballers we have. He brings us a lot of things and when he goes out on the field, he scores goals and does it well."

Having himself averaged a goal every 148 minutes, Morata has enjoyed something of a revival this campaign following an underwhelming two-year loan spell at Juventus.

The Spain international believes Diego Simeone's faith in him has been key to his good form, adding: "We have just started. I feel very good, I think I'm working well and so is the team. 

"I notice the confidence of the coach and I have always noticed it. I already told him one day that it was a pleasure to work with him, and here we are again with the same common goals. 

"I am so happy to be here. I'm only hopeful for the future and I'm going to work as hard as I can to have the greatest success."

Leverkusen represent a familiar opponent for Atletico – this will be the fourth different Champions League season in which the teams have met after doing so in the last 16 in 2014-15 and 2016-17, as well as in 2019-20's group stage.

But Simeone's men have only won one of their four away games against Leverkusen (D1 L2), and the Argentine is aware of the challenge at hand - despite the Germans' 1-0 defeat at Club Brugge last week.

"I have always had great respect for German teams, they have a strong head, they are tough, they don't go down until the end and they always compete well, as Leverkusen has done every time we played against them," Simeone said.

"I saw the last games, I liked the Brugge team. [Leverkusen] ended up losing a game where they surely deserved more than the result showed. 

"They are an organised team, which will leave the ball to us and will try to counter-attack with speed."

Liverpool reportedly had a deadline-day bid for Moises Caicedo rejected by Brighton and Hove Albion.

The 20-year-old is hot property with a long list of suitors, after an impressive second half of last season in the Premier League.

Caicedo joined Brighton from Independiente del Valle in January 2021 on a four-and-half-year contract.

TOP STORY – BRIGHTON TO OPEN TALKS WITH CAICEDO

Brighton and Hove Albion will open contract talks with hot property Moises Caicedo according to The Mirror.

The Ecuadorian has interest from Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea.

The Seagulls are determined to fend off those suitors by pinning Caicedo down to a new contract.


ROUND-UP

– Fichajes reports French giants Paris Saint-Germain will look to sign Antoine Griezmann after this season, as they begin planning for Lionel Messi's departure. Griezmann is currently on a two-year loan at Atletico Madrid from Barcelona. Messi is contracted until mid-2023 and view Griezmann as a suitable replacement if they cannot convince him to extend his stay.

Barcelona will resume their chase for Manchester City's Bernardo Silva in January, reports Sport. LaLiga has increased the club's salary cap, allowing them to pursue the Portuguese midfielder again.

– The Telegraph claims that among those under consideration for the vacant Brighton managerial role are ex-Shakhtar Donetsk boss Roberto de Zerbi and Bodo/Glimt's Kjetil Knutsen.

Carlo Ancelotti is set to be rewarded for his successful 2021-22 campaign with Real Madrid set to offer him a new contract, according to Marca. Ancelotti's current deal runs until 2024.

Xavi said Barcelona expect Antoine Griezmann to make his Atletico Madrid stay permanent amid reports the Catalan giants could take legal action if los Colchoneros fail to purchase the forward.

Griezmann is midway through a two-year loan spell at Atleti, but Diego Simeone recently suggested his minutes were being managed in order to avoid activating a purchase clause in their deal with Barcelona.

The France international – who scored a 101st-minute winner in Atleti's Champions League opener against Porto on Wednesday – has made four substitute appearances in LaLiga this season, totalling just 109 minutes on the pitch.

On Friday, reports suggested Barcelona could take legal action over Atleti's reluctance to purchase Griezmann, after he featured more regularly in his first season on loan in the Spanish capital.

Asked about Griezmann's situation ahead of Barcelona's trip to Cadiz, Xavi said: "This is a question for Cholo [Simeone], who has already made it clear that he is a club man.

"It is not an issue for me. Look, we have held meetings with the club, talking about players, but I have not spoken with Antoine's club. I can't do anything else."

Pressed on whether he would welcome Griezmann back to Camp Nou, the Blaugrana boss said: "It's a club issue, it's not up to me, the clubs must talk. 

"In fact, we think that he is already an Atletico Madrid player."

But Simeone was reluctant to comment on the forward's future ahead of Atleti's meeting with Celta Vigo, declaring: "I have been very clear on a day-to-day basis on this matter. 

"It's been four dates and I've always said the same. I have nothing more to add."

Referencing the club hierarchy's apparent desire to hold Griezmann back, he then added: "Where the captain commands, the sailor does not command."

Diego Simeone described Antoine Griezmann as "one of the most important players" in Atletico Madrid's history after his dramatic winner against Porto on Wednesday.

After 100 minutes and 21 seconds, Griezmann nodded home the latest Champions League goal on record (excluding extra-time) to guide Los Colchoneros to a stunning 2-1 victory.

Mario Hermoso had broken the deadlock in the 91st minute before conceding a penalty that was scored by Matheus Uribe, meaning Atleti's win over Porto is just the second Champions League match to ever feature three goals scored after the 90th minute (excluding extra-time).

Remarkably, the previous instance was when these two sides met last December, when Diego Simeone's men ran out 3-1 winners in Portugal.

Griezmann has had to settle for the role of impact substitute this term, with Simeone recently hinting the France forward's minutes were being managed to avoid activating a purchase clause in his loan deal from Barcelona.

The Atleti boss was fulsome in his praise of the France international afterwards and urged him to remain resilient.

"I love Griezmann very much," he said in a press conference. "Apart from the affection towards him, he is one of the most important players in the club's history.

"We will continue to improve. He is giving us a lot and he has to be strong in his head."

Simeone's son, Giovanni, was also in Champions League action on Wednesday, with the 27-year-old scoring his first goal in the competition in Napoli's thumping 4-1 win over Liverpool.

The Atleti boss added: "Gio was looking to play in the Champions League. He goes to a phenomenal club like Napoli and I'm very happy because he deserves it.

"He needs to continue because what you did today, nobody remembers tomorrow."

Atleti are back in action on Saturday when they host Celta Vigo in LaLiga.

Antoine Griezmann declared he will "give everything" in his limited minutes after playing the role of super sub in Atletico Madrid's remarkable 2-1 Champions League win over Porto on Wednesday. 

After 100 minutes and 21 seconds, Griezmann nodded home the latest Champions League goal on record (excluding extra-time) to guide Los Colchoneros to a dramatic victory.

Mario Hermoso had broken the deadlock in the 91st minute before conceding a penalty that was scored by Matheus Uribe, meaning Atleti's win over Porto is just the second Champions League match to ever feature three goals scored after the 90th minute (excluding extra-time).

In a remarkable turn of fate, the previous instance was when these two sides met last December, when Diego Simeone's men ran out 3-1 winners in Portugal.

Griezmann has had to settle for the role of impact substitute this term, with Simeone recently hinting the France forward's minutes were being managed to avoid activating a purchase clause in his loan deal.

But Griezmann insists he is content at Atleti, telling Movistar: "It is what it is, it is not in my hands. I just thank god I'm here. 

"My family is happy, of course I want more, but I'm going to give everything in the minutes I have. 

"I'm very happy here, the only thing I want is to play here and give everything for the club, for Cholo [Simeone] and the fans.

"As I said, on my return I was going to give everything. Scoring the winning goal is always very nice, but we keep the three points and can continue like this.

"We still have a hard time finding a performance, but there are only five games [gone]. We have to improve, we are working on it in training, it is missing in the games. 

"Perhaps we lack confidence in ourselves, to pass forward, look for the strikers and it's only the fifth game, I'm sure we'll go further.

"With the red [for Porto attacker Mehdi Taremi] we got higher, we put more players up, finding passing lines, trying to get inside.

"The penalty, I don't know if it is, but it is what it is. The corner in that last play… here, until the last second anything can happen, and we repeated the Porto goal from last season."

Griezmann's winner ended a run of eight home Champions League games without a win for Atleti – the longest such sequence ever recorded by a Spanish club.

Atletico Madrid and Porto played out an eventful stoppage-time on Wednesday, becoming just the second Champions League match to see three goals scored in the 90th minute or later.

The LaLiga side took the lead in the 91st minute through Mario Hermoso, who then handled in the box as Porto looked to have snatched a point when Mateus Uribe fired home the resulting penalty.

However, substitute Antoine Griezmann nodded in a stunning winner in the 11th minute of stoppage-time to send the home fans into raptures and give his side three points.

Griezmann's goal made the Champions League game only the second to feature three 90th-minute goals, after a match between the same two teams in December of last year, when Atletico ran out 3-1 winners.

The LaLiga side's late victory gets them off to a great start as they look to go further than they managed in last season's competition when they were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by Manchester City.

Porto will have to pick themselves up as they attempt to reach the knockout stages, with Club Brugge defeating Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 in the other Group B clash on matchday one.

Antoine Griezmann stepped off the bench to guide Atletico Madrid to a remarkable 2-1 win over 10-man Porto in the Champions League, in a match that featured three stoppage-time goals.

Atleti and Porto played out a goalless draw when they met on the opening matchday of last season's Champions League, and a repeat looked likely for the duration of normal time on Wednesday.

But after Mehdi Taremi picked up a second yellow card for simulation, Mario Hermoso fired Atleti ahead before handling in his own area, allowing Mateus Uribe to level the scores with a 96th-minute penalty.

There was to be one final twist in the 11th minute of added time, however, as Griezmann reacted quickest from an Atleti corner to cap a remarkable contest with a dramatic winner.

Diego Simeone has suggested Atletico Madrid are limiting Antoine Griezmann's minutes in order to avoid activating a purchase clause in the forward's loan deal. 

Griezmann is midway through a two-year loan spell from Barcelona, but Atleti must reportedly make the France international's stay permanent should he play over 45 minutes in the majority of their games. 

While Griezmann made 21 league starts for Los Colchoneros last season, scoring three goals and adding four assists, he has been reduced to a bit-part role at the outset of the new campaign.

The 31-year-old has impressed during his three substitute appearances this season, scoring twice, but has only played 82 minutes in LaLiga.

Asked whether his management of Griezmann's playing time was dictated by club policy, Simeone said: "They have known me for 10 years. I am a club man and always will be.

"We must try to make them [the players] understand that entering 30 minutes well is more important than playing 60 badly. 

"Everyone wants to play more minutes and that is why the coaches look for the best situations for the team."

Atleti were relatively quiet in the transfer market, bringing in Nahuel Molina, Axel Witsel and Sergio Reguilon, while Renan Lodi's loan move to Nottingham Forest represented their most high-profile outgoing.

Simeone blamed their lack of activity on an inability to generate funds in recent years, adding: "We have been on vacation since May, June is complicated, in July we settled in and August was complicated again. 

"It seemed that four could go, three come in... but I think the pandemic crisis has a lot to do with it. We have not been able to sell in recent years and that creates difficulties."

Atleti travel to Real Sociedad for their fourth outing of the season on Saturday, having claimed six points from their opening three games in LaLiga.

Griezmann, who began his career with La Real, has recorded a goal contribution on each of his last three league visits to the Reale Arena (two goals, one assist).

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