The most concrete and selective Griezmann | Soccer | Sports
The suffocating and demanding calendar that squeezes footballers for the sake of business will culminate this season with the Euro Cup in Germany between June 14 and July 14. Big game hunting for Antoine Griezmann (32 years old), who usually manages his peaks when a European Championship or a World Cup appears on the horizon. The French attacker has practiced the exercise of managing his energy before a big national team event since his time at Real Sociedad – which he faces this afternoon; at 4:15 p.m., DAZN) — and his first stage at Atlético de Madrid. For the 2014 World Cup he was still a rookie, but in the 2016 Euro Cup – runner-up – and in the 2018 World Cups – champion – and the 2022 World Cup – runner-up – he was the best player on the French team. Griezmann is one of those players who boast of knowing his body perfectly, and he arrived in full form at those three international events in which he shone.
The Frenchman’s numbers this season are not bad, three goals in the League and one in the Champions League, but both Simeone and his teammates know that he has started with the diesel engine. He is still not the intense all-rounder who posted his best records as a complete attacking player last season, 15 goals and 19 assists. In the current campaign he has not yet given an assist on a goal. His activity with the ball is also less. He accumulates fewer shots per game (1.78) than last season (2.88) and makes fewer passes (37 compared to 41).
So far, this season, Griezmann has been more of a player with very good specific moments than the player who ruled entire games the previous year. Only when he feels that the team and the game need him to expand with and without the ball has he offered the most complete version of himself. Even in that diesel mode that they appreciate in the booth, it is essential for Simeone.
There is no world football star who fully undertakes the defensive efforts that Griezmann makes. The season will be long and it is in your best interest not to put excessive mileage on his legs. Furthermore, both Memphis and Correa’s injuries have made him the second outfield player who has played the most minutes in the last six games (558 minutes), only surpassed by Mario Hermoso (569). “There are times when you need to be down, clear balls from the penalty spot, defend… It comes out normal for me. It’s something I feel. I see all my teammates who are all behind defending, I think I can’t let them down and I have to help them,” he explained recently.
The last match against Feyenoord was exemplary of this start to the season in which you can see a footballer who is selective in his efforts and very specific when he decides to enter the game. Griezmann barely pressured the Feyenoord central defenders to get the ball out. He simply covered them at a threatening distance. He also did not offer himself as usual to play as a midfielder and help build the game despite the problems the team had in breaking Feyenoord’s forward pressure.
Of course, his only appearance in the area in the entire first half was definitive. He scored the 2-2 tie with an opportunistic back scissors. In the second act he raised the intensity somewhat, but was replaced twelve minutes from the end with the score already in favor of Atlético (3-2). It is not usual for Simeone to do without his best player in the final stretch of complex matches, but the team needed fresh legs to defend and counterpunch. Griezman’s players were not after those half dozen consecutive games that he accumulated.
Simeone, aware of the Frenchman’s gradual development, had a talk with Griezmann in the days before the derby against Real Madrid. He suggested that in addition to getting involved in the construction of the game, he not lose sight of dropping off and stepping into the area frequently. The striker responded with a header and when he had to offer himself for the free spaces to seal the game, he did it too.
“I’m looking to be closer to the area, where I can do more damage. There are times when I don’t play, so it leads me to go down to touch the ball, but it’s not what the team needs right now. Being higher, touching fewer balls, but doing more damage,” explained the red and white attacker at the end of the derby on September 24. His words ratified the mandate given to him by the Argentine coach. A more selective and concrete Griezmann.
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