Madrid, Sep 8 (EFE).- French forward Antoine Griezmann on Wednesday began his second spell at Atletico Madrid with the challenge of winning back part of the team’s fandom and regaining top form after his move to Barcelona did not live up to expectations.
“Hello Atleti fans. I’m back!” Griezmann announced in a video published by the club’s social media accounts as he joined the team after playing and scoring a brace for France against Finland Tuesday night.
Atletico also shared a few photos of his return, in one of which he is seen hugging coach Diego Simeone, the man who helped him become one of the best players in the world, once coming third in the race for the Ballon d’Or.
The move aims to revive the flame that relatively faded away during his stay at Barcelona, achieving 35 goals in 102 games in over two years, compared to 133 goals in 257 matches in five years with the Rojiblancos.
Griezmann is expected to continue where he left off over two years ago as a starter in Simeone’s XI, although the Frenchman will have to adjust to a few changes.
Many of his Atletico teammates have left the club, including Diego Godín, Filipe Luis, Saúl Ñíguez, Álvaro Morata and Diego Costa, while others have joined since, including Marcos Llorente, Joao Félix and Luis Suarez.
Besides adapting to the new reality, Griezmann has a second challenge: to win back Atletico Madrid fans who felt betrayed by his move to Barcelona.
Atletico’s fifth all-time top scorer, who will wear No. 8, engaged in negotiations behind the back of the Rojiblanca in February 2019, when there was a lot at stake for the club competing in LaLiga and in the Champions League last-16 against Juventus in Turin.
Atletico Madrid’s first league home game since Griezmann’s return is scheduled for 18 September, although the Frenchman has an early opportunity to hold out an olive branch to fans when Atleti take on Espanyol on Sunday, if he steps onto the field. EFE