Diego Simeone recently claimed that Antoine Griezmann is one of the top three players in world football.
While the Atletico Madrid head coach might not be impartial, it’s hard to argue with his glowing assessment of the France international.
Griezmann, who turned 25 in March, has scored a magnificent 57 goals in 107 appearances - including 44 in 75 in La Liga - since joining Atletico from Real Sociedad in the summer of 2014 and there’s an argument to suggest he’s now the world’s best attacking player outside of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
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However, it took Griezmann a little bit of time to adjust to Simeone’s demands at the Vicente Calderon.
The versatile forward’s international teammate, Patrice Evra, has revealed that he and Paul Pogba spoke with their downhearted compatriot after he was left on the bench during a Champions League match between Juventus and Atletico back in December 2014.
Evra: Griezmann struggled at Atletico to start with
"He wasn’t going to play and he was frustrated with life at the club," Evra told Andy Mitten in an interview with The National. "He was really down with life. Me and Paul said to him: ‘Grizzle [his nickname], trust us, it’s difficult when you get to a new club’.
"I explained how difficult it was for me when I arrived in Juventus after being at Manchester United, a club I was settled at, but I believed in my quality and told him to do the same. Thankfully, things did work out for him and I’m proud of him. He’s a nice boy."
Evra warned Griezmann he would go 'nowhere'
Evra went on to reveal that he told Griezmann he would go “nowhere” - despite his obvious talent - unless he combined the beautiful football with goals.
"I’m so happy for him," the former United left-back continued. "I first started to know him when we were in Brazil for the World Cup. He made his France debut that year. I said to him: ‘You know, you’re a really talented player, but you’re not a killer. He looked at me and said, ‘What do you mean’?
"You have a nice touch, you have the twist, you have a lot of opportunities to score goals, you always play beautiful ... but you are going to go nowhere. He was like, ‘Yeah, I know what you’re saying.’
"I said: ‘Antoine, you have so much talent but you need to have a killer instinct’. He’s got that now."
Griezmann expected to shine at Euro 2016
Indeed he has. Griezmann scored 32 goals for Atletico last season and had the chance to make it 33 in the Champions League final but missed from the penalty spot.
However, he will now be looking to put last weekend’s gut-wrenching disappointment in Milan behind him and focus solely on helping France win Euro 2016.
Griezmann is currently the bookmakers’ third favourite to win the Golden Boot award, behind Germany’s Thomas Muller and Ronaldo.
Is Antoine Griezmann now the world’s third best player? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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