Griezmann on Atlético, Simeone and ‘madman’ Diego Costa – UEFA Europa League – News
At 27, Antoine Griezmann has a huge reputation – though not, perhaps, the list of honours to match it. As the Atlético forward sets out to win his first major UEFA trophy in Lyon on Wednesday, he shared his thoughts with UEFA.com.
On the UEFA Europa League final
This could be my first important title after winning the Spanish Super Cup. I have the opportunity to win the Europa League now and I really want that. I’ll do everything I can to help my team-mates. For the club, it’s just another title. It’s important and it shows that we always compete with the best teams.
I simply can’t wait for the match to come around and it’ll be fantastic to play in Lyon, which is just 45 minutes from my hometown [Macon]. A lot of my family members will be at the game. I have fond memories of the stadium [he scored twice in win against the Republic of Ireland at UEFA EURO 2016]. I also scored a bicycle kick in Lyon in the Champions League [for Real Sociedad in August 2013], so it’s a city I’ve done well in previously and here’s hoping I can keep that up.
On Atlético coach Diego Simeone
What ‘Cholo’ is doing for the club is historic. It’s like what [Sir Alex] Ferguson did with Manchester United and hopefully he will win trophies and take the team to the top level because he deserves it. I hope he will make history with the club because, thanks to him, we are here.
You learn a lot under [Diego Simeone]. I think he’s the best tactical and defensive coach in the world and he shows that year in, year out. It’s a joy to work with him. He identifies every player’s weaknesses and tries to improve them, making you a more complete player. He has helped me grow both on a personal and professional level. He will always ask for the best of me and make me do my best, and I’ll always be there to help him and help win the games.
On strike partner Diego Costa[Diego Costa is] a great foil for me. He creates a lot of space for me in between the opposition midfield and defence with his runs in behind, and I know he’ll be there to latch on to my through balls. We haven’t had that much time together, but we’re linking up well. He is like an animal on the pitch and he loves a scrap. The more he’s scrapping, the better he plays. He’s more laid-back with the press, but he’s like a madman in the dressing room – he’s always making jokes, playing pranks and doing crazy stuff.
On facing France team-mates in Lyon
I played against [Alexandre] Lacazette, who is one of my best friends, in the last round. Ultimately, once the action starts, you forget who’s on the other side. [Dimitri] Payet, [Florian] Thauvin and [Adil] Rami are having an excellent season and this match is a chance for them to make history for Marseille and French football, so they’ll be raring to go.