Antoine Griezmann: The French forward’s rocky start to life at Atletico Madrid

Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid
Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid - IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Antoine Griezmann completed a loan switch from Barcelona to his former club Atletico Madrid on the deadline day of the transfer window. Although reports circulated throughout about his exit from the Nou Camp, the French star was still cited as a key figure to carry the Blaugrana attack after Lionel Messi’s departure to PSG. However, Griezmann accepted the offer to return to his former club in the end. Many would have thought that the 30-year-old would seamlessly fit into Diego Simeone’s side and bring as much impact as Luis Suarez did last season. But the reality is the French World Cup winner looks like a fish out of the water at Atletico, the place where he announced him as one of the best in the world.

Underwhelming reception from the fans and a rocky start at Atletico

The Atletico faithful weren’t happy when Griezmann left the club to join Barca in 2019. They showed their aversion whenever the former Real Sociedad star visited Wanda Metropolitano. And their feeling towards him appears to haven’t changed yet as Griezmann was booed by a section of Atletico fans on his home debut in the Champions League against Porto

Griezmann’s shaky start to his second spell at Atletico also turns out to be a concern as he is yet to score a goal this season. The worrying fact is that he has failed to register a single shot on target after three games. Even in Atletico’s recent fixture against Getafe, Suarez stole the headlines with a match-winning brace while Griezmann was substituted midway through the game.

Atletico manager Simeone has asked for patience from the fans regarding Griezmann’s form, stating that the current side is different to the one the French forward got used to before.

Simeone said to beIn Sports, “It is normal. He was very enthusiastic to return. He is in the process of adapting to this Atletico, which is not the same as the one he left, but I have no doubts that it will be what we expect. We are fortunate to have him.

“Atletico generated other things last season… now we understand that with the players we have, these systems can also enter.

“The team has more associative play. We are on a path for everyone to adapt, not only Griezmann, but also Rodrigo [De Paul]. Today he did very well. He came on to give us more stability.”

Is Griezmann losing his relevance as one of the world’s best?

Griezmann’s stock skyrocketed after he won the World Cup with Les Bleus in 2018. Even in the 2016 edition of Euros, he was the tournament’s best player even though France fell short in the finals. His consistency at Atletico also remained intact; however, the transfer to Barca turned out to be the starting point of his downfall. Griezmann found it hard to adapt to Barca’s playing style, and he couldn’t create enough impact due to the presence of Lionel Messi. 

Although his work rate and professionalism were appreciated, as president Laporta said, he wasn’t the player made for Barca. He has been expected to return to his best at Atletico. Still, his struggles could seriously damage his Atletico legacy and even lose his place as one of the best forwards of his generation.