The French forward was appearing in front of Atletico Madrid fans for the first time since his return to the club from Barcelona but many supporters are not happy
Antoine Griezmann was loudly booed by Atletico Madrid fans upon his first return to the club’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium.
The French forward returned to Atleti on transfer deadline day on a season-long loan deal – with an obligation to buy – from Barcelona, having made the switch to the Camp Nou in 2019.
His second debut with Diego Simeone’s side came in a weekend victory at Espanyol, but his first appearance in front of the club’s fans came in Wednesday night’s draw Champions League against Porto.
Griezmann was introduced as a second half substitution by Simeone but he was booed by significant sections of the home support, in a game that finished scoreless.
It was not the first time on the evening that the fans made their feeling towards the Frenchman known, having also booed his name and number being read out prior to the match starting, although there was also a smattering of applause.
Griezmann left Atleti in contentious circumstances two years ago, joining La Liga rivals Barcelona when his release clause in the Spanish capital was triggered.
It was subsequently reported by Spanish media that the agreement between Griezmann and Barca had been reached two months before the end of the 2018/19 campaign – when both sides were competing for the league title.
That soured relations between the club’s supporters and the player, with the link between the two already frayed with Atleti fans running out of patience with Griezmann’s continued suggestions that he was open to leaving the club.
In 2017, it was widely reported that Griezmann had a provisional agreement in place to join Manchester United prior to a transfer ban for Atleti being confirmed which led to Griezmann penning a new contract on improved terms.
The following summer, Griezmann placed his future in his ‘The Decision’ TV show – emulating NBA star LeBron James, of whom he was a big fan.
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The forward announced that he was ‘staying’ with Atleti for that season rather than leaving the club, but the manner of the announcement and publicity it generated left a bad taste.
That set the scene for Griezmann being transferred to Barcelona permanently the following summer, but he has now returned to Los Rojiblancos two years later.
Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s match, Eduardo Fernandez, the president of the Atlético de Madrid International Peñas Union, explained to L’Equipe: “A part of the public will whistle and insult him, that’s for sure. When his name is announced and as soon as he touches the ball.
“There is a disenchantment. Before, he was our idol. Now he’s just a player like any other. He doesn’t represent much anymore. His image has seriously deteriorated. We’re all still hurt by what he did. Time is going to see our pain heal. He will have to regain our trust and our love.
“It is up to him to be forgiven and to redeem himself. How? ‘Or’ What? By sweating the jersey and scoring. When he sets important goals, little by little things will get back to normal. Because he can once again become the great player he was, I am convinced.”
Griezmann netted 133 goals in 257 appearances for Atleti during his first spell, before scoring 35 times across two seasons at the Camp Nou.
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