After a two-year stay with Barcelona, the France international returned to Atletico on deadline day. Last weekend, he made his second appearance in an away win over Espanyol, but Wednesday night's Champions League match against Porto marked his first return to the Wanda Metropolitano. Fans are still angry over how he left in 2019, and they didn't disguise their displeasure before the game. Griezmann's name is read out by the stadium speaker at 0:50 in the video above, and he is greeted with a chorus of jeers.
Every other player earned a standing ovation from the home crowd, but Griezmann's homecoming was not the fairytale ending he had hoped for. After coming on as a second-half substitution for Joao Felix, he was booed. Griezmann was unable to assist Atletico in finding a winner, as the game ended in a 0-0 tie. Before Chancel Mbemba yanked him down to draw a red card, he had a chance right at the death. After his €120 million release clause was triggered, the 30-year-old first left Atletico.
Griezmann had signed a contract with Barcelona two months before the end of the 18/19 season, when Atletico was still a title contender. This occurred a year after his well-known 'The Decision' documentary, in which he pledged his future to the club. Before Wednesday's match, Eduardo Fernandez, president of the Atletico de Madrid International Penas Union, told L'Equipe that Griezmann has a long way to go to regain fan loyalty.
"A section of the public will whistle and trash him, that's for sure," he told Tribal Football. As soon as his name is called and he touches the ball. "There is a sense of dissatisfaction. He used to be our hero. He's just like any other player now. He isn't much of a symbol any longer. His public reputation has degraded significantly. "What he done still hurts us all." Our anguish will fade away with time. He'll have to earn our affection and trust again.
"It is up to him to be forgiven and to atone." 'How did you do it?' What's the alternative? By sweating and scoring on the jersey. Things will gradually return to normal if he sets meaningful goals. I am certain that he can return to his former glory as a great player."
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