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Nations League: Griezmann fights against league frustration

Nations League

Antoine Griezmann will have the opportunity to free himself from his league frustration in the UEFA Nations League on Thursday (8.45 p.m., live on ORF1) against Austria. At Atletico Madrid, the 108-time French team player is currently hardly more than a reserve role. The reason for this is a contractual clause that limits his minutes of use. “At least he’s rested,” said France’s team boss Didier Deschamps.

With one exception, Griezmann has never played more than 29 minutes this season. Only on Sunday he was allowed to play the whole time in the 2-1 derby against Real Madrid, but despite a good performance it wasn’t enough for the fourth goal of the season. In any case, the situation of the goalscorer, who was loaned to Atletico by FC Barcelona for two years, is strange and grueling for the 31-year-old.

According to Spanish media reports, there is a clause in the loan agreement between the clubs that Atletico must sign the player for 40 million euros if he plays more than 45 minutes in 50 percent of the games. Barca already consider the contract fulfilled as that was the case for Griezmann in his first loan season in 2021/22. According to Atletico’s interpretation, both seasons are relevant on average.

APA/AFP/Javier Soriano

With one exception, Griezmann did not get more than 30-minute short appearances this season

Simeone pushes for a quick agreement

In order to compensate for the minutes played in the previous season, Griezmann only played 27 to 29 minutes as a “joker” in the current season – at least until the important derby. An unsatisfactory situation for the player himself, but also for Atletico coach Diego Simeone. The Argentine is said to be pushing for clarification, but club boss Enrique Cerezo recently denied relevant guidelines.

Atletico Madrid Trainer Diego Simeone

APA/AFP/Jorge Guerrero

Atletico coach Simeone’s hands are currently tied when it comes to the minutes played by his goalscorer

And Barca don’t really want Griezmann back. He plays no part in the plans of coach Xavi Hernandez, and the 1.76m man no longer fits into the new salary scheme of the financially troubled “Blaugrana”. According to media reports, the contracting parties should have already agreed on a lower transfer fee, the topic would then be off the table.

Contract clause targeted by FIFPRO

But the case has now also brought the international players’ union FIFPRO onto the scene. As reported by radio sports broadcaster El Larguero, FIFPRO is pushing for a ban on similar clauses. These would violate the rights of the players.

In the absence of the injured star goalgetter Karim Benzema, Griezmann now has the chance of another liberation with France’s selection against Austria and Denmark (Sunday). After all, the 2018 world champion, who scored a total of 42 times for “Les Bleus”, wants to recommend himself for the World Cup in Qatar at the end of November. “He’s still a difference player at his club and obviously wants to play more,” said Deschamps. “It could be a good opportunity for him to get more minutes with us.”

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