Lots of whistles and to play. In this, the reunion of French Antoine Griezmann with the Atlético de Madrid fans on his return to Wanda Metropolitano was summarized. The whole stadium whistled his entrance in the second half, and nothing more, because the red-and-white fans were focused on driving their own in a gray premiere of the European season against Porto, which ended in a bitter 0-0.
An overwhelming rain of whistles from a vast majority of the 40,098 spectators gathered this Wednesday in the rojiblanco coliseum at his entrance in the 55th minute of the game, instead of the Portuguese Joao Félix, it was Griezmann’s punishment on his return to where was idol. But nothing more, because two points escaped from Avenida Luis Aragonés, an important loss in a tough group completed by Liverpool and Milan, with an English triumph at Anfield (3-2).
It was difficult to expect a different reception for the French forward, once on the altars of the rojiblanca fans for his magnificent performance during five seasons, with 133 goals in 257 games, later pointed out by the traumatic nature of his departure, consummated in May 2019 after a year before he had intrigued the fans with a romantic flirtation with Barcelona that included the filming of a documentary.
Griezmann was whistled when his name was announced over the loudspeakers. Photo: EFE / Juanjo Martín.
That departure denied a year before he hurt the rojiblanca fans, who whistled it on each visit to the Wanda Metropolitano with the Barça shirt. Even in the first one, some fans they came to deposit rubbish and stuffed rats on his plate in the vicinity of the Wanda Metropolitano.
Griezmann knew – who asked on his arrival to recover his “beautiful relationship” with the fans and promised to “demonstrate” with his game beyond words – and his coach, Diego Pablo Simeone, knew that it would not be easy to ingratiate himself with the athletic fans. “The fans will demand of him as they demand of us all on a daily basis,” said the coach before the game against Espanyol.
Substitute this Wednesday of the beginning, after his tepid start as a starter against Espanyol at the RCDE Stadium, in which he ended up being replaced by Joao Félix in the second half, this time the alternative in the eleven was for the young Portuguese striker, the who took over the ‘7’ when the Frenchman left three seasons ago.
For this reason, the Frenchman entered the Wanda Metropolitano to warm up in the group of substitutes, looking from one side to the other of what is once again his stadium, while the rock of the 80s of the British The Outfield sounded. “I don’t wanna lose your love tonight,” sang British vocalist Tony Lewis. I don’t want to lose your love tonight. The same one that Griezmann wanted to recover from the rojiblanca fans.
There were hardly any spectators in the Wanda Metropolitano at the time and the music, even louder than usual, concealed any attempt to protest. But this came, when with AC / DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ on the public address system, they announced the starting line-up and the substitutes for the rojiblanco team. The whistles surfaced, but quickly the next occupant of the bench, the Argentine Ángel Correa, was announced and they stopped.
Without participation in the first half, some isolated whistles began to sound in the stands when he went out to warm up in the intermission, in which the last one jumped to the grass, accompanied by the physical trainer, the Argentine Oscar ‘el Profe’ Ortega.
Those same timid whistles accompanied him when, with the second half already started, he went to the left corner of the south end to warm up together with Correa and the Brazilian Renan Lodi. Although it was the background closest to the noisy animation stand, its occupants paid little attention to it. In fact, the whistles were for Porto defender Pepe when he was substituted.
Everything changed a few minutes later, when the Frenchman got ready with Correa and Lodi for the triple change arranged by Simeone.
Griezmann for Joao Felix, the change that made Wanda Metropolitano “speak”. Photo: REUTERS / Susana Vera.
What were first isolated whistles when they waited for their incorporation, became a clamor when the French striker entered on the pitch, instead of Joao Félix, in the 55th minute. Whistles at his entrance, and when his name was announced in Spanish and Portuguese.
A rain of whistles and to follow, because Atlético missed two valuable points at home if the tie was confirmed. Applause was even seen in the Frenchman’s first maneuver, a high back pass that did not reach its goal, and his first maneuvers with Correa as a buddy.
The party was going the other way. For the goal of the Iranian Mehdi Taremi, later canceled by a rebound in the hand of the Porto forward when the ball was already heading to goal, due to Atlético’s frustration, which did not even generate chances. But when, in the added time, Griezmann grabbed the ball and the Congolese center-back Mbemba caught him from behind, they all claimed a foul in unison, and after the red card they claimed: “Now, Atleti, now”.
Griezmann was outlined to shoot the free kick with his left leg but Luis Suárez did it with his right. And the ball hit the outside of Diogo Costa’s net, confirming that Atlético missed both points, on the night of Griezmann’s pardon.