KEIR RADNEDGE in LYON: Man of the match Antoine Griezmann eluded questions about his future as easily as he had eluded Marseille’s defence in the Europa League Final in Lyon.
The 27-year-old France striker scored twice in Atletico Madrid’s 3-0 win in the Stade Groupama while speculation increased that he will transfer this summer to Barcelona.
However Griezmann, asked about whether this had been one of his last game for Atletico, was non-committal.
He said: “Now is not the time to talk about my future. I need to enjoy the present. I’m happy and I want to enjoy having won this title with the fans.
“It was a dream of mine to win a title with my teammates and [coach] ‘El Cholo’ Simeone and here we are. We had an opportunity in the Champions League two years ago that didn’t work out and I told myself that this was my opportunity and so it proved.
“I do feel very much at home here with Atleti. When I arrived I didn’t have this feeling but that’s quite common. Now I have strong ties with my team mates and with our fans.”
Griezmann was a boyhood fan of Marseille but did not let that affect his commitment to Atletico’s winning cause.
He said: “When I left home at 14 I wanted to win titles and tonight I had the possibility to do that but I’m also very proud of the way Marseille played this season and the way their supporters stood behind their team in the stadium here.”
Coach Simeone had to watch the match from the stands after being suspended by European federation UEFA because of suspension after being sent from the technical area during the semi-final victory over Arsenal.
Assistant Mono Burgos took his place on the bench but Simeone was free to attend the post-match press conference.
He was similarly non-committal about Griezmann’s future at the club.
Simeone said: “What he did in This game confirms everything he’s been doing these last years. He was solid as a rock. In the most essential part of the match he made all the important decisions and I hope he’ll be happy to be with us.
“He has played three finals with us and won one and we also now have the Supercup which would be the fourth European final he can play. We always compete at the highest level so we’re not far from those who have much deeper pockets than us.
“If he stays with us we’ll continue to grow and develop and if he leaves then he will do having given his all for us.”
Simeone praised his players for their hard work and commitment during his six years in charge. He said: “This was not only about winning the Europa League it was about also showing shows the value of hard work, a steady hand, continuity – values that are essential to be successful in life.”
Marseille coach Rudi Garcia accepted that Atletico had been the better team and deserved their victory.
He said: “At the start of the game we had the best goal opportunities but then we made a defensive mistake which cost us a goal and, against a team like Atletico, you can’t afford to do that.
“The scoreline does not capture the balance of the game but the better team won. Atletico know these sort of matches, they play the Champions League regularly so we should not be ashamed of losing.”
Marseille are likely to face discipinary action from UEFA over the flares set off by their fans in the stands. The club has already been sanctioned three times for fan misbehaviour this past season.
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