Antoine Griezmann quiet on club future, concentrates on FIFA World Cup 2018
Antoine Griezmann, who attended a press conference ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2018, knows which club he will play for next season but is not yet ready to reveal his decision.football Updated: Jun 12, 2018 19:43 IST
There is a sense of disquiet in the media conference room at the New Jerusalem Museum in Istra, Moscow, as French striker Antoine Griezmann takes his seat to address reporters. The questions are on expected lines – will he stay on at Atletico Madrid? How attractive would a move to Barcelona be?
One of the questions comes from a Spanish journalist, who places the microphone next to his phone. A voice from an online translation app reads out the question in French.
Laughter breaks out among the journalists. Griezmann can’t hide his amusement either. It helps ease the tension in the room.
Griezmann’s answer does little to offer clarity on his club future though. “I am very sorry, but today is not the day I will announce my decision,” the Atletico star says with a smile.
His response fails to stop the barrage of questions on his club future. A little prodding later, he announces, “The decision on my future has been taken, but this is neither the time nor the place to talk about it.”
Speculation over the diminutive forward’s club future has been one of the major talking points in the build-up to the campaign of France, the 1998 champions and among the leading contenders this time.
It isn’t a distraction though, clarifies Griezmann. “I’m fine, I’m quiet. I’m in my World Cup,” he says with an air of confidence.
Two years back, Griezmann was the creative engine in a French side that reached the final of the European Championship at home. However, the team suffered heartbreak against Portugal in the final.
This time, with two years of added experience, he is one of the senior players in one of the youngest squads at the World Cup.
“I feel easier to give instructions now. I know that Kylian (Mbappe) and Ousmane (Dembele) listen to me,” he says.
At the 2016 Euros, France started with a 2-1 win over Romania that laid the platform for an impressive run to the final. This time, a similar start will be crucial if France are to justify their favourites tag, says Griezmann. Denmark, Australia and Peru are the other teams in their Group C.
“For us as a group, the first game is the most important. At the Euros, I felt confident and I would love to be in a similar level of confidence this time,” adds the leading scorer of Euro 2016.
Griezmann takes his leave soon to join teammates for a training session at the nearby Glebovets Stadium. There is a sense of disappointment as he leaves the room. Speculation was rife this would be the press conference where the Atletico talisman would announce his next destination.
That didn’t turn out to be the case but Griezmann laid down the marker as far as future interactions with him would be during his tournament. With the pressure of being the star for the pre-tournament favourites, Griezmann’s sole attention is on world football’s biggest prize.