Legendary striker Jean-Pierre Papin sees no reason Antoine Griezmann should leave Atletico Madrid. ‘Why, when he’s already at a big club…’
Papin has told an interview with AS that while there is still a lot for the France international to improve on, he’s already made immense progress to become one of the best forwards in the world.
“He plays on a team where it’s not always easy for a forward, because Atletico play a lot of counter-attacks. For me, he’s matured this year,” Papin noted.
“Frankly, he’s improved in all aspects. I see him stronger physically, he’s able to overwhelm, to make a difference, he’s always moving, very dynamic, and he’s greatly improved with his head, which is important in Diego Simeone’s team! He’s become a complete forward.
“When you’re at Real Sociedad, which is a good team, it’s difficult to show you’re a decisive player because there aren’t many great players.
“Playing in a great team changes everything and Atletico Madrid [is a great team]. You touch the ball more, so you’re more dangerous.
“He fits perfectly Atleti’s counter game, with his speed and vision. These kinds of forwards, when they’re at an elite club, become amazing players, and he is.
“I think his left-sidedness is important because there aren’t many left-sided forwards. In most cases they’re players who have great ball control and that’s the case here.
“Technically he is very good, and fast. He knows how to use his qualities, but he can still be even better.
“Where can he improve? Everywhere! At 25 you’re still young and can improve a lot. But the way he is working today is perfect and we shouldn’t change anything. I didn’t expect to see him as strong as he is at the moment, one of the best in Europe.
“He is for his style of play. I think he’s a little below [Luis] Suarez, [Robert] Lewandowski, [Karim] Benzema and company, because his team has very good players but no ‘cracks’ as their teams do.
“But yes, he is one of the best. Now he’s among the best goal scorers.”
Papin commended Diego Simeone’s role in Griezmann’s development and named him as the future of both France and Atletico, and advised him to remain at Vicente Calderon.
“Simeone’s very important. This kind of Coach knows how to get the best out of his players,” Papin said of Cholo.
“The results show it. With him, Griezmann has played at the highest level and knows what that means. When you have a good player, you have to know how to take care of him.
“If Atletico’s philosophy is respected then results will come. Since Simeone arrived, they’ve played the Final of the Champions League, won the League…can you do better?
“Griezmann is the future of France, and also of Atleti. When a team can count on a player, that’s wonderful. If he keeps scoring, his value in the market will keep growing.
“To leave when Atletico play in the Champions League every year, fight in La Liga with Barcelona and Real Madrid and he plays every game wouldn’t make sense.
“I wouldn’t understand why you’d leave to have more competition at another club. Atletico is a great club and I wouldn’t think of leaving in the summer. Loyalty is important to Griezmann, and if you’re already playing for a great club, why leave?”