Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann has downplayed suggestions he is heir apparent to Franck Ribery in the France team.
Griezmann has been interviewed by L’Equipe about Les Bleus and his friendship with Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema.
“Karim taught me that football is just a matter of statistics. And from there you reflect and see if you’re on the right path,” he said, AS reports.
“Before what mattered was if I felt I had a good game. Now I use stats to judge my performance. I’m focused more on the idea of scoring or creating an assist.
“I think about it before every game and I look at my stats at half-time.
“If my teammate is better placed I will always do what’s best for the team, not my statistics. The shot is the last solution for me.”
Griezmann added that he, Benzema and Raphael Varane have formed a close bond through the national team, but not at the exclusion of anyone else.
“I’m also friends with Paul Pogba. I try not to isolate the group or interact with one player,” he continued.
“You can say I need Benzema to protect me but we’ll see about that in 2016. There won’t be any more Antoine the protégé, only Antoine Griezmann.”
Griezmann was asked if coming into the France set-up as Ribery steps aside was good luck or a burden.
“Neither. I’m not the successor to Ribery. I’m not on his level. I don’t feel pressure to be, from the Press or on the pitch,” he replied.
“I’m at a great club with a lot to learn. I’ve progressed with Diego Simeone and his staff. I’ve worked hard and progressed physically and tactically.
“I expect to do damage to the rival defence but be good in defence too. I like it. I like knowing when to commit a small foul to stop a counter-attack.”