Antoine Griezmann: Real, Barca switch still possible, but happy at Atletico now
Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann says he would not rule out a future move to Spanish rivals Real Madrid or Barcelona.
Griezmann turned 26 on Tuesday and has long been linked to a move away from Atletico Madrid, with some of Europe's elite clubs reportedly interested in his services.
And though the France international is content for the time being at Atletico, he admitted he was not immune from a "dream" of moving to an even bigger team.
"Could I play for Real Madrid or Barcelona in the future? Why not," Griezmann said in an online chat with fans organised by L'Equipe. "It is every player's dream to play for a big club like those two or for Bayern Munich.
"But I cannot see myself at Barca or Madrid at this stage, nor at any other club. I am happy where I am now.
"I have no intention of leaving Atletico, not for Paris Saint-Germain, not for China, not for MLS, not for Russia and not for any other destination."
Asked whose playing style he admired, he singled out PSG's Edinson Cavani.
"I would love to play with Edinson Cavani but don't say that I want to play at PSG, OK?" he said. "I love his playing style, wanting to give everything going forward and defending. His movement...he's always first-time in the penalty area. All his goals are first-timers. That's really good. When he arrived in Paris, he was criticised, but I have always defended him."
In September, Atletico coach Diego Simeone cut his contract with the club by two years so it is set to expire in 2018.
But Griezmann said his future at Atletico will not depend on whether Simeone stays on as well.
"No, because there will be a time when he needs to leave or I need to leave," he said. "It's true that this summer I called him to see if he was going to stay. He told me he was talking to the club about bringing in players, organising things with the club. That did my good and I said to myself that I would stay. I didn't know if there were offers, but as I was staying, it didn't matter what offers were there, because I was going to stay with him."
Teammate, Gabi Fernandez, said he doesn't see Griezmann leaving.
"I don't imagine him playing for any other club," he said. Antoine is young and he can play for any team in the world. But I think that at this time right now, Real Madrid would not be a step up over Atletico Madrid. I hope he remains with us for a long time."
When asked whether he would like to see Karim Benzema recalled to the France squad, Griezmann said: "Yes, I think so, a little bit like all the French people, but the coach decides. I have total faith in the coach, he knows how to handle his squad very well.
"He's the one who makes choices. He didn't take other players who perhaps deserved it. He makes his choices. I'm totally behind him, and it's up to us to prove he wasn't mistaken."
Griezmann said he watched Barcelona rout PSG, 6-1, in their historic Champions League comeback.
"I saw it. I said to myself that I love football because you can see things like that. No one had ever done that before, according to the statistics," he said. "What they did was exceptional. Paris really helped Barca too on one or two goals. But having said that, they had to score the others. Conceding six goals isn't the fault of the referee. It's petty to say that. I loved the first leg too, because Paris were very good. In football, nothing can be taken for granted."
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