Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone refused to comment on Fernando Torres’ renewal other than that he “valued him as a player, not an idol”.
The striker’s 18-month loan is due to expire in the summer and will return to Milan if an extension is not agreed before then, and his Coach reacted coyly to questions about his future at a Press conference for Sunday’s match against Real Betis in La Liga.
“The guys who stayed behind did a very good job, but those who went [away during the international break] are accustomed to such situations and trained with us on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” he said.
“I see him [Antoine Griezmann] in a very good way. He’s thinking about the game and showing what he’s capable of on the pitch. The proximity of the match is making him excited.
“We’re facing tough opponents whom we played in preseason. They’ll pose us difficulties and that requires us to be very focused.
“They’re physically strong, quick and resolute, especially with Joaquin [Sanchez] and Ruben Castro.
“[On Torres’ renewal] I told Fernando that I valued him as a player, not an idol of the club.
“In the meantime, I demand 100 percent of him as a player and then time will define whether or not he renews.
“[On Torres’ 100th goal], Torres has played many games, many minutes … We need his strength and him, together with Vietto, can compensate for Jackson [Martinez’s] absence.
“They all have features which improve the team. Hopefully the goals come.
“Not scoring regularly carries a burden on strikers, especially as it’s his 100th goal [Torres] is after.
“Scoring it would free him. He’ll play [on Sunday] and have a chance of getting it.
“[On defensive Coaches], some of your reports are critical, and once you go with a narrative it’s difficult to change it. You’re given a tag and it sticks with you forever.
“[Luciano Vietto] has trained well for the last 15 days and comes into the match focused and ready to reflect the idea we had about him.
“He can play between the lines against teams which play deep, links up play well and has a goal in him.
“I’m very confident in Vietto, it’s just a shame that he scored an important goal but got injured straight after.
“Now it’s up to the Coach put him in and for him to show what he’s got, which is a lot of football.”