Griezmann: ‘Messi & Ronaldo are genuine legends, close to them is difficult’



Griezmann spoke to France Football about getting close to Messi and Ronaldo and says he won the World Cup thanks to Cholo Simeone’s help.

The arrival of Diego Simeone on the bench for Atlético Madrid has seen them win seven titles and has helped to establish them as one of the big European clubs. The players have received a boost too. With the exception of 2015, since his first full year on the bench in 2012, at least one rojiblanco player has been nominated for the Ballon d’Or except for in 2015. In 2016 Griezmann was name as one of the top three before losing out to eventual winner Cristiano Ronaldo. That is something that hadn’t happened since 1987 when Paulo Futre was named second on voting.

With Simeone in charge, seven Atlético Madrid players have been named among the very best in the world. Oblak, Godín and Griezmann are on the list in 2018 to continue that trend. The other players include Falcao, who was named twice along with Courtois, Koke and Diego Costa, who have all been named once. “The first message I sent after winning the World Cup was Simeone,” said Griezmann in an interview with France Football as he explains that a “French player has to win it.”

Griezmann credits Simeone with World Cup success

“I sent a photo of the cup to Cholo,” he said about the message he sent to Simeone. “And I said to him: ‘Look at how beautiful it is. I won this because of you.’ This World Cup was for him.”

It was Simeone who convinced Griezmann that they could actuall do it when he sent him a message after beating Argentina in the last 16. “When the trainer says that, a guy who knows football well, that knows how we play… saying that he saw us strong tactically. It was the moment when I thought that we could do it.”

“These are genuine legends. Every year they are there, they never rest, they score 50 goals, win trophies, ballon d’Ors and then they come back and do it again,” he says about comparing himself to Messi and Ronaldo. “This year I won the European Super Cup, the World Cup and the Europa League. Because of that, I used the image of Messi and Ronaldo at the same table. Over the course of a career, it’s difficult to get close to them, but for one year, I think it’s possible.”