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Diego Simeone and Antoine Griezmann 'Untouchable' Says, Atletico President

La Liga giants Atletico Madrid’s President Enrique Cerezo, in his defence of the Argentine coach Diego Simeone has applauded the effect he has had on the team in recent years.

News18 Sports

Updated:November 12, 2017, 5:20 PM IST
Diego Simeone and Antoine Griezmann 'Untouchable' Says, Atletico President
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone and attacker Antoine Griezmann (Image: AFP)

La Liga giants Atletico Madrid’s President Enrique Cerezo, in his defence of the Argentine coach Diego Simeone has applauded the effect he has had on the team in recent years.

The Argentine who played for Los Rojiblancos as well, has helped put them on the European map after he took over the reins in 2011.

Under Simeone, a former captain at the club, they have won the Europa League, Copa del Rey and La Liga apart from being the losing finalists in the UEFA Champions League in both 2014 and 2016.

Atletico have endured a difficult 2017-18 campaign so far, though, with Simeone's side currently fourth in La Liga, eight points behind leaders Barcelona, and in serious danger of failing to qualify for the knockout stages of Champions League.

When quizzed about the flak Simeone has been subjected to Cerezo told a leading Spanish daily: "I want to say this in a loud voice. Simeone is untouchable at Atletico Madrid, for the players, for the directors and for the supporters."

He said having doubts about Simeone "is not allowed here."

Cerezo who has maintained that this Atletico squad is the best-ever squad said, "We are playing it game by, and games are the way they are. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose."

Atletico have failed to register a win in Europe so far this season, after they were held to draws by Roma and Qarabag and lost to Chelsea.

"We could have scored four against Roma and then we had 14,000 chances against Qarabag," he said. "It's not just a problem specific to Atletico that players can be more or less clinical, but it's a problem for a lot of elite clubs.

"I keep saying we have a fantastic squad, a wonderful coach and a phenomenal fan base. That's enough for me."

French forward Antoine Griezmann -- a finalist for the 2016 FIFA Best Men's Player award alongside Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has not been able to replicate the form of previous seasons and was substituted during the recent victory over Deportivo La Coruna while Atletico were still searching for a breakthrough.

When asked about Griezmann and his position at the club, the President placed him on the same plane as Simeone and said, "He hasn't had much luck at the start of this season. He had a fantastic end to the previous season and he is still considered one of the best three players in the world. The advantage is that he is younger and has more of a future than the other two.”

"Everybody has their moments. It may be the case that he's not going through the best one right now, but I am convinced that it won't take long for him to be what we all want him to be once again, the Griezmann that he is. After all he has shown, there's no reason to doubt him or lose confidence in him because of playing five matches not so well."

Griezmann who was very strongly linked with a move away from Madrid to English giants Manchester United agreed to a new contract in the summer where his €100 million buyout clause untouched.

The 26-year old Frenchman had then said that he had agreed to stay back as Atletico failed to get their transfer ban overturned, but with Diego Costa set to be registered in January after his unceremonious exit from Chelsea, Griezmann’s future remains in doubt.

"We have put in a lot of effort to keep him and to keep all the players," Cerezo said. "The problem Griezmann has had is that a series of news stories about other important European clubs wanting him has not benefited him.”

"Griezmann is and will be an Atletico player. He is an important player and at an important club and he wants to win titles with Atletico. He may have had a start to the season which could have been better, but there is a lot left of the La Liga season for him to show how important he is for the club and how important football is for him."

When asked about how he felt with regards to Griezmann's regular media comments on his future during the summer, Cerezo replied, "What important player doesn't play this kind of game? They all do."

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| Edited by: Abhimanyu Sen
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