Barcelona boss Quique Setien made a worrying admission about striker Antoine Griezmann after Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou.
The €120 million ($135m) signing was once again left on the bench and only emerged for the final minutes of the clash against his former team. Setien was asked about the forward’s lack of game time and explained why he keeps being left out
“It’s difficult to put him on without destabilizing the team. I understand it’s tough for Griezmann to come on when so little time left. I will speak with him tomorrow, I won’t say sorry because [it’s about] decisions. But I understand he may feel bad and I feel bad for him because he’s a great person and professional.”
Griezmann has started three of Barcelona’s last four matches on the bench and is currently on a poor run of goalscoring form. His last goal was back in February, and he’s only scored once in La Liga in 15 matches in 2020.
Simeone Has No Words For Griezmann Treatment
Opposition manager Diego Simeone was rendered speechless by Barcelona’s decision to only use Griezmann as a late substitute in such a vital game.
The Atletico Madrid boss was asked about his former player after the game and told Movistar: “I’m speechless.”
Griezmann enjoyed a strong relationship with Simeone during his five years with the Rojiblancos. After the French striker’s departure from Barcelona in summer 2019 the coach told Cristian Grosso at La Nacion: “He is an extraordinary boy whom I love very much.”
Barcelona’s Title Hopes Fading
Tuesday’s result leaves Barcelona’s hopes of retaining their league crown in real jeopardy after an incident-packed match at the Camp Nou.
Barcelona took the lead through a Diego Costa own goal but were pegged back when Saul Niguez levelled from the penalty spot. Costa missed the initial kick but it was retaken as goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen was adjudged to have come off his line.
Lionel Messi then netted the 700th goal of his career from the penalty spot before Saul scored another spot-kick to secure a 2-2 draw.
The draw leaves Barcelona one point behind rivals Real Madrid who can extend their lead to four on Thursday if they beat Getafe. Both teams will then just have five games of the 2019-20 campaign left to play.