Sport Champions League

Friday 28 April 2017

Atleti's Little Prince the biggest threat

Antoine Griezmann exercises during a training session ahead of the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final First leg match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Leicester FC. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Antoine Griezmann exercises during a training session ahead of the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final First leg match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Leicester FC. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Jason Burt

On Antoine Griezmann's forearm there is a tattoo in Arabic. It is a quote from his namesake, French writer Antoine De Saint-Exupery, and reads: "make your life a dream, and make your dream a reality".

The dream for Griezmann - and Atletico Madrid - is to win the Champions League.

Having lost two finals in the past three seasons, two Madrid derbies, at that, Atletico are more driven than ever to win this competition. They were even prepared to sacrifice their league form in the pursuit. Ominously for Leicester, they have recovered.

In the group stages Atletico finished ahead of Bayern Munich and won five matches despite scoring only seven goals and conceded just two. That is some efficiency, which coach Diego Simeone pointed to last night when he predicted of this tie: "I cannot really picture a game with many goals given the characteristics of both teams."

Read more: Juve dare to dream after Dybala double

But if anyone can make the difference then he also knows it is Griezmann, who has already scored 23 goals - four in the Champions League - this season. "He puts everything away," Simeone says of Griezmann and while that is not quite true - his penalty miss in the Champions League final last season still haunts him - he has turned into the complete forward.

His manager has been unequivocal as to how highly he regards Griezmann. "Now he is among the three best players in the world," he said before last season's final and he has developed further since then.

Read more: Claudio hangs over Leicester's finest moment

While he does not possess Lionel Messi's skill, he does have the ability to drop off to link the play as well as the pace to get in behind teams; and can even go up against physical defenders and win aerial duels despite being 5ft 8in. Atleti's Little Prince is the biggest threat Leicester City face. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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