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UEFA Europa League – Arsenal-Atlético – Arsenal v Atlético history

Arsenal and Atlético Madrid will meet up with competitively for the initially time in the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League, in the initially leg of a much-expected contest in between clubs from the capital metropolitan areas of England and Spain.

• Both of those Arsenal and Atlético survived next-leg scares in the quarter-finals, the Gunners at some point prevailing 6-3 on aggregate against CSKA Moskva (4-1 home, 2-2 absent right after trailing -2) and Los Colchoneros edging Iberian rivals Sporting CP 2-1 around the two legs (2- home, -1 absent).

Arsenal, the lone English reps in the UEFA Europa League knockout section, gained four of their six autumn encounters to leading Group H before knocking out European debutants Östersund in the spherical of 32 then successful equally legs against AC Milan – 2- in Italy and 3-1 in London.

• Obtaining crossed around to the UEFA Europa League right after finishing third in their UEFA Champions League team, Atlético made mild function of equally Danish champions FC København in the spherical of 32 and Russian league leaders Lokomotiv Moskva in the spherical of 16, successful all four matches.

Former meetings
• Arsenal and Atlético have hardly ever fulfilled in UEFA opposition, even though the Gunners did conquer their Spanish opponents 2-1 at home in the 2009 pre-season Emirates Cup.

• The Gunners have gained only ten of their 31 UEFA opposition matches against teams from Spain, getting rid of fourteen. At home their record in fourteen encounters is W8 D3 L3, the most new a 2- defeat against Barcelona in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League spherical of 16 initially leg.

• The London club have gained five of their nine two-legged UEFA ties with Liga opposition but have shed each individual of the final a few – all to Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League. Their 1 past semi-remaining against Spanish opponents did finish in accomplishment, a 1- aggregate win around Villarreal in 2005/06 (1- home, – absent) getting them into their initially – and as yet only – European Cup/UEFA Champions League remaining.

• Atlético’s record in 27 matches against English clubs is W10 D11 L6, and they have been victorious in seven of their nine two-legged knockout contests, such as each individual of the final a few only Derby County (1974/75 UEFA Cup) and Bolton Wanderers (2007/08 UEFA Cup) haved eradicated them. On English soil, nevertheless, they have gained just 2 times in 12 visits, getting rid of four times.

• The Madrid aspect have drawn 1-1 on each individual of their final two visits to England – against Leicester Town in final season’s UEFA Champions League quarter-remaining and at Chelsea in this season’s team stage, Saúl Ñíguez scoring Atlético’s goal in equally matches.

• The two journeys prior to people game titles were equally for European semi-remaining next legs and yielded positive results – a 2-1 extra-time defeat at Liverpool in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League bringing an absent-goals victory right after a 1- home win, and a 3-1 win at Chelsea, which involved a Diego Costa penalty, getting Diego Simeone’s aspect via to the 2014 UEFA Champions League remaining right after a – draw in Madrid.

Kind guideline
• Arsenal’s 8-match unbeaten home operate in UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League matches (W6 D2) came to an finish in the spherical of 32 with a 2-1 defeat by Östersund, but they bounced back again by beating Milan 3-1 and CSKA 4-1 in the next two rounds.

• Prior to that victory around the Rossoneri the Gunners had shed each individual of their past six European home game titles in the spring, conceding seventeen goals. They have not held a clean sheet in the final 8.

• Arsenal have prolonged their European campaign into the spring for the 19th successive yr – all beneath Arsène Wenger’s administration.

• Arsenal are producing their UEFA Europa League debut this season. Their final European campaign outside the UEFA Champions League was the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup, which ended with a penalty shoot-out defeat in the remaining against Galatasaray. They overcame French aspect Lens in that season’s semi-remaining, successful 1- at home and 2-1 absent.

• The Gunners’ record in six UEFA opposition semi-remaining ties is W5 L1, prevailing in each individual of the initially five – against Juventus (1979/80, 1-1 home, 1- absent), Paris Saint-Germain (1993/94, 1-1 absent, 1- home) and Sampdoria (1994/95, 3-2 home, 2-3 absent, gained on penalties) in the European Cup Winners’ Cup, then Lens and Villarreal – before Manchester United ousted them in the final four of the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League (-1 absent, 1-3 home). They have therefore hardly ever shed a semi-remaining to international opposition.

• Atlético were unbeaten on their European travels this season right until their 1- quarter-remaining next-leg defeat at Sporting, a few draws in the UEFA Champions League preceding two wins in the UEFA Europa League.

• The Madrid club went into that match in Lisbon on a operate of seven successive absent wins in the UEFA Europa League knockout section. Certainly, the reduction to Sporting was only their next in 12 these kinds of fixtures (W8 D2), the other that 2009/10 semi-remaining defeat against Liverpool. They were also victorious on neutral territory in the finals of 2010 (Hamburg) and 2012 (Bucharest).

• UEFA Europa League victors in 2010 and 2012, Atlético are producing their initially overall look at the opposition in five a long time. Since then Diego Simeone’s aspect has appeared in two UEFA Champions League finals and achieved the quarter-finals and semi-finals in two other seasons.

• Effective in equally of their past UEFA Europa League semi-finals, against Liverpool in 2009/10 and Valencia in 2011/12 (4-2 home, 1- absent), Atlético’s general record in fourteen UEFA opposition semi-remaining ties is W8 L6. They had gained four in a row before likely down to city rivals Real Madrid in final season’s UEFA Champions League (-3 absent, 2-1 home).

• Atlético has gained only four of their fourteen absent legs in UEFA semi-finals, the newest accomplishment coming in London four a long time in the past with that 3-1 next-leg win at Chelsea.

• Atlético concluded third in the Spanish Liga final season, and this is only the next time in 8 makes an attempt that they have unsuccessful to development outside of the team stage of the UEFA Champions League. On the other hand, on the only other situation, in 2009/10, they went on to win the UEFA Europa League.

Inbound links and trivia
• Arsenal’s Armenian global Henrikh Mkhitaryan was a UEFA Europa League winner with Manchester United final season.

Atlético pair Vitolo and Kevin Gameiro equally gained the UEFA Europa League a few seasons functioning with Sevilla (2013/fourteen, 2014/15, 2015/16).
Filipe Luís, Gabi, Diego Godín, Juanfran, Koke and Saúl were all at Atlético when the club gained the trophy beneath Simeone in 2011/12.
Wenger’s aspect have far more wins in the UEFA Europa League this season – 8 – than any other club and are also the competition’s leading scorers with 29 goals – 8 shy of FC Porto’s record haul in 2010/11. They have also had far more goal makes an attempt than any other aspect – 162 – when midfielder Mohamed Elneny has completed far more passes (710) than any other player.
Atlético are the only UEFA Europa League (or UEFA Cup) winners in the semi-finals. They are also the only aspect amid the remaining four to have previously played in the UEFA Europa League semi-finals.

• Antoine Griezmann’s goal in the initially leg of the quarter-remaining against Sporting was the 500th scored by a Spanish club in the UEFA Europa League, team stage to remaining. The next leg was the 300th outing in the opposition proper for a team from Spain. Both of those figures are records for a one nation.

• Mesut Özil played 105 times in the Spanish Liga for Real Madrid in between 2010 and 2013, scoring 19 goals. He faced Atlético 8 times (W7 L1) and scored four goals against Los Rojiblancos.

• Nacho Monreal played 127 league matches for Osasuna and 45 for Málaga through his time in Spain. He faced Atlético 11 times (W3 D2 L6), scoring an own goal in Osasuna’s 2-1 defeat in June 2007 and acquiring a red card in the Pamplona club’s 3- reduction in November 2010.

• Shkodran Mustafi made sixty-four Liga appearances for Valencia in between 2014 and 2016, scoring six times. He faced Atlético on four occasions (W1 D1 L2), scoring in a 1-1 draw in March 2015.

• Simeone faced Arsenal 2 times as a player with Lazio in the initial team stage of the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League (-2 absent, 1-1 home).

• Diego Costa made 89 Leading League appearances for Chelsea in between 2014 and 2017, scoring fifty two goals and successful the title in 2016/seventeen. He faced Arsenal five times in the league, scoring 2 times. He also found the net against the Gunners on his remaining Chelsea overall look – in the 2017 FA Cup remaining, which Arsenal gained 2-1.

• Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny and Alexandre Lacazette are French global team-mates of Atlético’s Gameiro, Griezmann and Lucas Hernández.

• Arsenal’s Monreal and Héctor Bellerín and the Atlético quartet of Koke, Saúl, Vitolo and Diego Costa are all Spanish internationals.

The coaches
• Arsène Wenger has been the Arsenal manager because 1996, primary the Gunners to a few English titles, a record seven FA Cup wins and the 2006 UEFA Champions League remaining. A player of modest repute, he made his title as a coach with Nancy and Monaco in his indigenous France before shifting to Japan for a short spell with Nagoya Grampus 8. He is the longest serving manager in the Leading League.

• Diego Simeone has been the Atlético coach because December 2011, and has included five trophies to the club’s collection, such as the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League, as perfectly as steering the Madrid club to the UEFA Champions League finals of 2014 and 2016. The combative ex-Argentina midfielder also had two spells at Atlético as a player, successful the Spanish double in 1995/96.

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We can win all our remaining matches – Griezmann

We can win all our remaining matches – Griezmann

Atletico Madrid forward, Antoine Griezmann has sounded a note of warning to their competitors that the squad is determined to win all their remaining games for the rest of the season.
The French International was on hand to score a hat-trick in their Spanish La Liga 5-2 victory over woeful Sevilla on Sunday, as the Capital club maintained their momentum in their chase of League leaders, Barcelona who are only seven points ahead.
“Our aim is to win all of our remaining matches,” Griezmann told reporters after the victory.
“We want to continue on our current path, keeping up this level of performances and seeing where it takes us, but we want to win all of our remaining matches.
“It is always nice to score goals but the most important thing is the level of the team performance which allowed us to push on to win three points.
“Sevilla often goes into attacking situations with a lot of players, so it was important we combatted that.”
Diego Simeone’s side has picked up a total of 22 points from a possible 24 in their previous eight matches.

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Former Atletico Madrid star joins Istanbul Basaksehir on loan

Former Atletico Madrid midfielder, Arda Turan who completed a sensational move to Barcelona in July 2015 has now been loaned from the Spanish club to Istanbul Basaksehir in Turkey for the rest of the 2017/2018. He is also expected to stay for another two seasons at the Turkish side according to a statement from Nou Camp on Saturday.

Turan, who was a regular starter for Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid have to struggle for game time at Barcelona as he had to offset the MSN superstar trio of Messi, Suarez, and Neymar then for a chance of starting regularly.

He has however won six trophies, scoring 15 goals in the process in only 55 appearances. He was signed for €34 million from Atletico Madrid in 2015

According to reports by a Spanish Sports newspaper last week, it was estimated that it cost Barca €1 million for each appearance Turan makes, as his annual salary is also believed to be in the tune of 8 million annually. This could be the major trigger for his transfer.

Atletico drags Barcelona to FIFA over Griezmann contact

Atletico Madrid has dragged Barcelona to FIFA for an illegal contact about transfer talks with Antoine Griezmann.

Barcelona director Guillermo Amor told Movistar on Sunday that president Josep Maria Bartomeu may have made contact with the French forward’s family who are also his representatives about a likely transfer as he has been repeatedly linked with the Catalan club in the Spanish media

“Atletico Madrid has presented a complaint about Barcelona for repeated contact between Barcelona, the player, and his people,” Atletico said.

“Griezmann has a long contract and this cannot be permitted, while the club also considers it could affect the competition [La Liga] in which Barcelona are currently top and Atletico are second.”

Barcelona has been a victim of transfer issues just a few seasons ago as they were punished with a one-year transfer ban in 2014 for signing under-age players by FIFA. The club has yet to respond when pressed for their comment.

FIFA also confirmed that they had received the formal complaint from Atletico, but had no further comment at this stage.

Antoine Griezmann, 26 had signed a new Atletico contract in June until 2022, with a €100m release clause.

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Antoine Griezmann partnership good for Atletico Madrid – Kevin Gameiro


Kevin Gameiro and Antoine Griezmann combined to great effect as Atletico Madrid beat Levante.

Atletico Madrid forward Kevin Gameiro said his partnership with Antoine Griezmann was “good for the team” after both France internationals scored doubles in Saturday’s 5-0 La Liga win at Levante.

Atletico had struggled for goals all season with coach Diego Simeone regularly changing personnel and tactics in attack, and Griezmann himself recently going eight games without finding the net.

However, with Gameiro back in the starting XI for the first time since late October’s disastrous 1-1 home Champions League draw with Qarabag, Atletico rolled over a Levante side who gave them an early helping hand through Rober Pier’s own goal after just five minutes.

“It was like last season, this hadn’t happened for a long time,” Gameiro told BeINSPORTS.

“You can see that when we play together it is very good for the team. This time we were both able to score. This result will give us a lot of confidence for future games. We all know how football is. When we forwards score things go much better for everyone.”

Last season the pair regularly linked up well with Griezmann providing six assists for Gameiro, who himself laid on seven goals in return.

More recently Griezmann played in Gameiro, on as a substitute, for the second goal in last Wednesday’s 2-0 Champions League win at home to Roma.

Atletico travelled to Levante last weekend having scored just 16 goals in their first 12 La Liga games this term, with other forwards Luciano Vietto, Fernando Torres and Angel Correa having been in and out of the team at various moments.

Diego Costa has been training with the squad in recent months and will be available to feature in January when Atletico are likely to have to move on some attackers in order to free up space in their squad.

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan



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Kevin Gameiro Antoine Griezmann and Koke in top form for Atletico Madrid against Levante


Julien Laurens examines Antoine Griezmann’s future with Atletico, and the FC crew debate where he should go if he leaves.

Atletico Madrid emphatically returned to form in La Liga with a scintillating 5-0 victory away to Levante on Saturday night.

Kevin Gameiro was the star of the show, the French striker scoring twice and setting up the other three while showing Diego Simeone exactly what he was missing when leaving him out earlier in the season.

Antoine Griezmann looked happy playing next to his countryman and bagged the final two to end his lengthy La Liga drought in style as Los Rojiblancos ran out comfortable winners to remain unbeaten in the league.

Positives

Gameiro’s display was top-class. To have him and Griezmann scoring goals is going to be vitally important for Atleti if they achieve anything this season.

Negatives

Stefan Savic was a bit erratic, summing up his form of late, and must surely be in danger of losing his place to Lucas Hernandez or Jose Maria Gimenez.

Manager rating out of 10

9 — Simeone knew Levante were going to play a high line and the selection of Gameiro to exploit it proved to be an inspired one.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Jan Oblak, 6 — Flapped at a cross in the first half but had very little to do thereafter. Dribbled out of the box late on and took on a forward, somewhat comically.

DF Thomas Partey, 7 — Impressive in a position that is unfamiliar. Was targeted early on by Levante, but coped easily. A threat going forward, too.

DF Stefan Savic, 5 — Managed to look shaky in a routine, comfy win. Lost his man when Oblak came and clapped and was sold completely at the end as the home side went close.

DF Diego Godin, 6 — Coped with the little attacking threat the Valencian outfit produced.

DF Filipe Luis, 7 — Played a couple of delicious through balls to Gameiro in the first half. Pushed on whenever he could and looked dangerous.

MF Koke, 9 — Absolutely brilliant. Will not get the headlines like the goal scorers, but he was majestic in midfield, and everything that was good about Atleti’s attack — and there was a lot — came through him.

MF Gabi, 8 — Great ball over the top in the buildup to the first goal. Afforded time to put his foot on the ball and pick a pass, and if you allow him to do that, he will make you pay.

MF Saul Niguez, 6 — Will rarely enjoy a more relaxed afternoon in the middle of the park at this level. Recycled the ball well, if unspectacularly. Given the final 20 off.

Kevin Gameiro and Antoine Griezmann each scored twice as Atletico Madrid remained unbeaten in domestic play.

MF Angel Correa, 7 — A real live wire throughout. Linked up well with the front two and was desperately unlucky not to score himself after rounding the keeper, only to see his shot cleared off the line before Gameiro tapped in.

FW Antoine Griezmann, 9 — Back to his brilliant best. Set up Gameiro’s second before adding two himself, with his compatriot returning the favour. Spent the final 15 minutes trying to set Fernando Torres up for a goal.

FW Kevin Gameiro, 9 — Scored two, might have had five and set up the other three. Looks a man transformed by his goal against Roma in midweek and made the absolute most of the space afforded to him by the home side’s high line. Much more like it and needs a proper run in the side now, something he has not been afforded yet this season.

Substitutes

Yannick Carrasco (for Correa), 6 — On for the final half-hour but did not really get into the game.

Fernando Torres (for Gameiro), 6 — Missed three very presentable chances once he came on, with many teammates desperately trying to set him up.

Augusto Fernandez (for Niguez), NR — Allowed Saul to put his feet up for the final few minutes.

Joseph Walker covers Atletico Madrid for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @Joe_in_espana.



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Antoine Griezmann has not discussed Atletico Madrid exit amid Barcelona links


Diego Simeone admits there’s a bit of anxiety creeping into his Atletico team after their goalless draw against Real Madrid.
Diego Simeone insists Antoine Griezmann is happy at Atletico and backs him to improve throughout the season.

Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann has said there is no way he is leaving the club in January, and clarified recent comments in which he appeared to express an interest in joining Paris Saint-Germain.

Griezmann, 26, almost left for Manchester United last summer, before signing a new contract as a FIFA transfer ban meant Atletico could not sign an immediate replacement.

Diego Costa — who joined from Chelsea — will be available to play for Atletico following La Liga’s winter break, leading to claims Griezmann could then move on with Barcelona reportedly preparing a €100 million bid.

But the France international rejected a suggestion put to him on TV show Telefoot that he already had an agreement with Atletico club chiefs to leave in the winter.

“No,” Griezmann said. “I have not spoken about that with the president. Plus Diego Costa and Vitolo will come in so we will try and keep the team high enough, then those two reinforcements will be good for us.”

Griezmann said that people had misunderstood his off-the-cuff answer when asked last week whether he could play in future with PSG stars Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

“I did not express myself well,” he said. “In the game ‘yes or no’ they asked me would I like to play with Mbappe and Neymar? I replied yes, but that does not mean I want to go to PSG.”

Antoine Griezmann has not scored for Atletico Madrid since a Champions League defeat to Chelsea in September.

Griezmann said he had no regrets over his summer decision to remain at the club, despite only scoring three club goals so far in 2017-18, and being whistled by Atletico supporters when substituted in the 0-0 draw at home to Real Madrid on Saturday.

“I’m not sorry for having decided to stay at Atleti,” he said. “I am happy with my choice, even if I have not scored in seven games. I’m happy with my games for the national team, but with the club [just] two or three. There are games in which I’ve not even had one shot at goal. I must work hard at training to find a solution.”

Griezmann’s dip in form has contributed to his team’s poor Champions League group campaign so far, with Diego Simeone’s men likely to be eliminated having drawn twice with rank outsiders Qarabag.

To progress to the round-of-16 Atletico must win their final two games, at home to Roma on Wednesday and at Chelsea on Dec. 5, and hope either side slip up in their games against Qarabag.

Speaking in AS before his return to Spain, Roma’s ex-Sevilla sporting director Monchi said it was dangerous to think a Simeone side would just roll over now.

“Anybody who gives up a Simeone team for dead, does not know him or Atletico,” Monchi said. “They have had a dip, but I am sure they will be reborn again. The demands at this level are high, the margin of error is small, and any moment of doubt appears bigger than it really is.”

Asked which Atleti player would he like to sign for Roma, Monchi did not mention Griezmann.

“I’ve said Saul a few times before, but I could also say Koke, Filipe Luis…,” he said. “They have a lot. What has been achieved is the fruit of an exceptional squad.”

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan



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Bayern Munich play down interest in Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann


Sid Lowe explains why Antoine Griezmann can wind up being quite affordable to whomever lands his services.
Koke believes Antoine Griezmann is happy at Atletico, but stresses that the club only wants players who are 100 percent committed.
Diego Simeone insists Antoine Griezmann is happy at Atletico and backs him to improve throughout the season.
Robert Lewandowski bagged a brace to power Bayern Munich‘s comfortable 3-0 home win over Augsburg.
Jupp Heynckes reiterates he is only with Bayern temporarily, saying he has his own ideas about who should be manager.

Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has said Bayern Munich are unlikely to make an attempt to sign Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann.

Sky reported the German champions have tried to sign Griezmann twice in the past and there was fresh speculation at the weekend linking the France international with a €100 million move.

However, Salihamidzic, 40, rubbished these reports, telling Sky before the Bundesliga game against Augsburg at the weekend: “We haven’t even talked about Griezmann.”

The 2001 Champions League winner stressed that Bayern were unwilling to pay such astronomical fees.

He said: “We won’t be joining in the craziness — the sums involved are not worth discussing. If something is sensible and suits Bayern, we will do it.”

Antoine Griezmann
Antoine Griezmann has been linked with a move away from Atletico Madrid.

Bayern beat Augsburg 3-0 in the Bavarian derby on Saturday to move six points clear at the top of the table from RB Leipzig, and coach Jupp Heynckes confirmed talks are in progress with Hoffenheim over the transfer of Germany international Sandro Wagner.

“We still have time, we have decided a few things in the last few months, but the transfer window opens on Jan. 1,” Salihamidzic said.

Meanwhile, both Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery’s contracts are up for renewal next summer.

Asked about the club’s plans for the veteran wing duo, Salihamidzic said: “They are two experienced and revered players. We know what we have in them and will deal with that early in the New Year.”

Robben is currently the club captain in the absence of goalkeeper Manuel Neuer through injury.

And Salihamidzic added: “Arjen Robben is in top form and the best example there is that age is not important.”

Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.



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Sulking Antoine Griezmann wastes another night in Atletico Madrid’s 0-0 draw with Real Madrid


Cristiano Ronaldo missed a late chance for Real Madrid in a scoreless draw with city rivals Atletico.
Cristiano Ronaldo missed a late chance for Real Madrid in a scoreless draw with city rivals Atletico.
Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid both fell 10 points behind Barcelona after their derby finished scoreless at the Wanda.
Diego Simeone insists Antoine Griezmann is happy at Atletico and backs him to improve throughout the season.

Atletico and Real Madrid played out one of the dullest Madrid derbies in recent years, producing a goalless draw at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday night.

Atleti should have led after three minutes, however Angel Correa spurned a one-on-one, firing wide when he should have scored. It was a precursor of things to come as the sides battled out a stalemate that suited nobody bar league leaders Barcelona.

Los Rojiblancos might have won it late on, however sub Kevin Gameiro saw his delicate chip headed off the line. At the other end Lucas Hernandez made a crucial stop on Cristiano Ronaldo. It was one of those kind of nights.

Positives

Not losing the derby is always a plus, and it means Madrid now have just one win in their last nine visits to Atleti. The defence looked somewhere close to its best, too.

Negatives

Antoine Griezmann. If he was going to mope, sulk and skulk he should have just left in the summer. At present it is a waste of time for both club and player.

Manager rating out of 10

7 — A good starting XI from Diego Simeone, who uncharacteristically threw on attackers as the game got towards its business end, which almost paid dividends as Gameiro nearly won it. Showed Griezmann exactly who is boss by hooking him, too.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Jan Oblak, 7 — Made a flying save in each half from Ronaldo free kicks, however you suspect they were for the cameras. A good block on a Toni Kroos piledriver, too.

DF Juanfran, 8 — Rolled back the years. Set the tone early on as he outsprinted Ronaldo, who was running through on goal, despite the Portuguese having a good 10-yard head start. His old, dependable self at the back and was tireless in attack, too.

DF Stefan Savic, 8 — Another who needed — and subsequently produced — a high-level display. Gave Karim Benzema no change whatsoever while he was on the pitch with some no-nonsense old-school defending. More like it.

DF Diego Godin, 7 — A rock. Dealt with Madrid attacks, be them on the floor or in the air. Marshalled — an admittedly out of form — Ronaldo very well.

DF Lucas Hernandez, 8 — The best of the lot at the back. We keep saying he is not a left-back, but his performances suggest otherwise. Must surely be pushing for a central berth soon, such is his defensive ability, as illustrated with a number of brilliant blocks, especially his full-length one at the death to ensure his side of a point.

MF Koke, 5 — A welcome return, however that the Madrid midfield looked better with him more central might be cause for concern.

MF Thomas Partey, 6 — Neat and tidy in the middle of the park without excelling in a disciplined hour-long showing. No coincidence that when he was replaced, Luka Modric and Kroos grew in influence in the game.

MF Gabi, 6 — Played the role of midfielder destroyer well. No-frills, nothing fancy, get the ball and give it. Couple of smart, cynical fouls showed his experience with Real breaking.

MF Saul Niguez, 5 — Needs to offer more. You can never fault his work ethic in defence, but keeps making the wrong decisions in attack and looks shorn of confidence in that sense.

FW Antoine Griezmann, 3 — On the pitch in name only. Admittedly isolated, but where was the work ethic and the dropping deep to get involved? The fact he was hooked with 15 to go speaks almost as many volumes as the pockets of whistles towards him. Is stinking the place out and the summer transfer saga continues to hover over him.

FW Angel Correa, 5 — A bad, bad miss in the opening minutes that you simply have to score. However, to his absolute credit, he never hid (unlike a certain Frenchman) and always tried — albeit unsuccessfully — to make something happen.

Griezmann argues vs Real 171118
Antoine Griezmann was pulled with 15 minutes to play following an uninspiring performance.

Substitutes

MF Yannick Carrasco (for Thomas), 5 — Spearheaded a late 4-on-3 counter that he proceeded to muck up by taking three touches too many. Vintage Carrasco.

FW Kevin Gameiro (for Correa), NR — Lovely chip over the onrushing keeper only for it to be headed off the line.

FW Fernando Torres (for Griezmann), NR — Set up Gameiro with a purposeful run.

Joseph Walker covers Atletico Madrid for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @Joe_in_espana.



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Barcelona ‘not going to close the door’ on Antoine Griezmann move – Ernesto Valverde


Sid Lowe explains why Antoine Griezmann can wind up being quite affordable to whomever lands his services.
Koke believes Antoine Griezmann is happy at Atletico, but stresses that the club only wants players who are 100 percent committed.

BARCELONA — Ernesto Valverde has said Antoine Griezmann is a “great player,” but the manager wouldn’t be drawn on speculation linking Barcelona with a move for the Atletico Madrid forward in January.

However, Valverde once again reiterated that Barca are open to doing business in January, having pushed for Philippe Coutinho and Angel Di Maria until the last day of the summer transfer window.

Coutinho remains the Catalan club’s priority, according to the local press, but there is also reported to be a firm interest in Griezmann.

The France international looked set to leave Atletico in the summer for Manchester United but performed a U-turn, signing a new deal when the Rojiblancos saw their transfer ban upheld.

But the speculation has not gone away and rumours linking Griezmann with a €100 million move to Barca have increased during the international break.

“Griezmann is a great player, one of the names being talked about but for now I have the players that I have,” Valverde said when asked if he wanted the forward at Camp Nou.

“In the future, we will see. Of course, the club, like all clubs, is open to doing business in the January window, even though we’re happy with what we already have. We’re not going to close the door on anything.”

Barcelona ‘will see’ about moves for Antoine Griezmann and other players in January, Ernesto Valverde says.

Barca may also be tempted to move for a centre-back following the news this week that Javier Mascherano will miss the next month after getting injured while on Argentina duty.

That leaves Valverde with just Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti — who are both one booking away from a suspension — and the injury-prone Thomas Vermaelen for Saturday’s trip to Leganes.

“We have good centre-backs,” the coach said when asked if he was worried about his options in defence. “Circumstances can never be foreseen and injuries come when you least expect them.

“But that’s why we have a deep squad. We’ll see who plays but we have confidence in Pique, Umtiti and, of course, in Vermaelen. Then there’s the B team, too.”

Pique will miss the team trip because of a personal matter but will regroup with the team before the game.

Valverde also confirmed that Luis Suarez is in good shape for the weekend after the striker sat out the international break in order to focus on recovering from a long-standing knee problem.

A win at Leganes’ Butarque home in Madrid would temporarily take Barca 11 points clear of Real Madrid and Atletico, who meet later on Saturday at the Wanda Metropolitano.

“There’s an important game in Madrid [Atleti vs. Real] but the most important one in Madrid for us is against Leganes,” Valverde added.

“What worries us about Leganes is how few goals they’ve conceded — just one at home in five games. Like Girona, they’re a solid team that believe in what they do and defend well.

“We’re alert before these games. It’s enough to look back at last season to see what happened at these types of grounds where points were lost. Maybe it’s not as glamorous as others, but we know the problems we have had at Girona, Alaves…”

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.



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Antoine Griezmann happy at Atletico but ‘free to leave’ if he wants – Koke


Koke believes Antoine Griezmann is happy at Atletico, but stresses that the club only wants players who are 100 percent committed.

Koke believes teammate Antoine Griezmann is happy at Atletico Madrid, but warned that any player who isn’t focused on the club should leave.

Reports in France this week claimed Griezmann has already agreed a €100 million move to Barcelona next summer, while sources have told ESPN FC that Manchester United could also return with a new bid.

Griezmann suggested he was open to a move to Paris Saint-Germain, but Atletico president Enrique Cerezo said he thought the forward was only joking.

Asked about his opinion on Griezmann’s future, Koke said Atletico only want players to stay if they are totally committed.

“Talking about Griezmann, he had the chance to leave after the last season, but he didn’t. So I think that means he likes it here,” said Koke, who has been with Atletico since he was eight years old.

“We always say if somebody doesn’t like it here, he’s free to leave. The club and I want the best, we want committed players.

“Those who aren’t [committed], just have to ask for a transfer. We only want players who are 100 percent focused here.

“[Griezmann] does look committed to Atletico. In the last month, the reality is that we haven’t been any good and little by little we will improve.”

Antoine Griezmann and Koke have played together at Atletico Madrid since 2014.

Atletico Madrid return from the international break with a derby against Real Madrid, with both clubs chasing Barcelona and Valencia above them in the table.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s game, Koke added: “We haven’t seen their best version yet but they have amazing players and always give their best. [I expect] a Madrid who will give everything and come to the Wanda Metropolitano with a lot of desire.

“Every game against Real Madrid is special. The essence of a derby, even when you’ve played in a lot of them, is never lost.”

Atletico are fourth in the table but level on points with Real, and Koke believes the game provides a good opportunity for his side to kick-start their season.

“We’re good. It’s true that the past month we haven’t shown our best level. We did some great things and we did some bad things,” he said.

“This international window has been good for us to improve, to analyze our mistakes.”

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.



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Atletico confident of Antoine Griezmann stay amid Man United, PSG links


Antoine Griezmann joined Atletico Madrid from Real Sociedad in 2014.

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo says he has no reason to believe Antoine Griezmann wants to leave the club, and recent comments made on French TV were only said in jest.

Griezmann was linked with a move to Manchester United last summer before eventually agreeing a new contract to remain at the La Liga club, but he has struggled to find his best form so far in 2017-18.

Speaking while on international duty with France this week the 26-year-old appeared open to the suggestion he could join Paris Saint-Germain in the summer. Meanwhile, other reports in France claimed that he has already agreed a €100 million move to Barcelona next summer, while sources have told ESPN FC that United could also return with a new bid.

Cerezo told Europa Press that he was confident Griezmann would stay where he was long term.

“You do not understand Griezmann, or his sense of humour,” Cerezo said. “He wants to stay. He is saying what he has to say. I have not seen him say anywhere that he wants to leave, just the opposite, that he wants to stay as, among other things, he has a contract.”

Cerezo himself cracked a joke when asked about Griezmann having suggested he liked the idea of lining up alongside Kylian Mbappe and Neymar at PSG.

“What you don’t know is that maybe those two could come here,” he added.

Next up for Atletico is Saturday’s La Liga derbi at home to neighbours Real Madrid, with both teams needing a victory as they are currently joint third in the table, already eight points behind leaders Barca.

“The derbi is an important game for everyone, but it is a league match just like the last one,” Atleti goalkeeper Jan Oblak told the club’s website. “We’re going to try and win it just as we always do. I hope the result is what we are looking for.”

Atletico have yet to enjoy a big win at their new Wanda Metropolitano stadium this season, with Chelsea winning on their Champions League visit in September and Barca getting a late equaliser in October’s La Liga fixture.

Oblak said he was confident that the modern new stadium would soon match the Vicente Calderon.

“I feel proud to be playing the first season at the Wanda Metropolitano,” he said. “We changed from the Calderon where everything was great. But at the Wanda everything is spectacular. I am sure that in this stadium we will continue as before.”

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan



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