Somewhat lost in the events of the Madrid derby on Sunday night was that Antoine Griezmann started his first game of the season at the Metropolitano, breaking a run of eight straight substitute appearances.
It has become the subject of much amusement that Griezmann continues to come on at almost exactly the same time in each game, about the 63rd minute. Atletico Madrid are trying to avoid Griezmann playing half of the matches he is available for across this season and last, otherwise they will be forced to pay Barcelona €40m for the Frenchman.
Last night they decided it was one of the few games for which they were willing to increase that number. No doubt Los Colchoneros have worked out that he can break the 45 minute barrier in a specific number of games this season without triggering the clause.
Speaking after the match to Mundo Deportivo, manager Diego Simeone was content with Griezmann’s first 90 minutes.
“Today we understood that Antoine could play from the start. He played a great game, he moved in different places. In the second half he came over to the left side in order to play with two strikers. He played a great game.”
Although when asked about the partnership between Griezmann and Joao Felix, Simeone admitted things could have gone better.
“It is true that we could not connect as we wanted.”
Although ultimately Griezmann did not create the danger Atleti would have liked or work well with Griezmann, he was one of Atletico Madrid’s better players for the first 70 minutes. As per Sofascore, he had 88 touches and made three key passes