When Antoine Griezmann equalized for Atlético in the 80th minute at San Mamés on Sunday, he alleviated the worry of not coming away with any points against Athletic Bilbao.
The Frenchman put the cherry on top of his return to form and, although we didn’t realize it at the time, he may have given us a clue regarding his heart’s intentions.
For all things considered, he may just be staying at Atlético Madrid. Or is he?
Everyone’s initial reaction after the French superstar’s outside the box screamer was that of amazement. Athletic Bilbao’s Gorka Iraizoz was pardoned for conceding (the shot was that good) and everyone marveled at Griezmann’s ability to squeeze the ball off the left post and into the back of the net:
— Chloé Bensetti (@coco_crea_yt) January 23, 2017
After all, this was Griezmann’s eighth league goal of the season and his fifth goal in six games across all competitions. Things are looking good after a brief slump on the scoresheet earlier in the season.
However, it was the alleged words that he said to the nearest camera during his goal celebration that left rojiblanco fans with much to think about and even more to be hopeful for.
“C’est ma maison, ici!” he shouted, which translated from French to English means, “This is my home, here!, or “¡Esta es mi casa, aquí!” in Spanish.
Griezmann shouted "C'est ma maison, ici!" ("This is my home, here!") after his goal today, TV cameras picked up. Make of that what you will. pic.twitter.com/EOPvNVeWJC
— AtléticoFans (@AtleticoFans) January 23, 2017
If this is actually what he said, then the meaning is naturally going to be thrown in with the speculation and rumors that Griezmann is going to take his talents to Old Trafford this summer.
Yes, Manchester United and manager Jose Mourinho have been straight forward with their desire to obtain the France international. It’s pretty obvious that he is high on their transfer priority list.
Furthermore, The Independent reported that negotiations for the former Real Sociedad forward are at “an advanced stage,” with the Manchester club willing to pay his 100 million buyout clause, according to ESPN FC.
But does he actually want to leave? If so, Diego Simeone recently told reporters that he wouldn’t get in the way of his star striker if, in fact, he did want to leave for Manchester.
“I don’t tie anybody down. I simply work in order to continue getting better for the good of the club,” said Cholo.
Diego Simeone insists he will not "tie down" Antoine Griezmann and prevent a Manchester United move. (Source: Independent) pic.twitter.com/dEYuJOey1P
— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) January 20, 2017
If this was actually the case and Griezmann is willing to trade his Madrid lifestyle for grey skies and Manchester rain, then why would he say those words in his celebration? Why would he even bring it up?
There’s only one way for this to be taken and interpreted – Griezmann does want to stay. It is no secret that the 25-year-old loves the culture in Spain.
He moved to the country when he was 13 and has even admitted in an interview that he curses in Spanish and not in his native tongue of French. He probably loves the Spanish dish of Paella, too.
While the lure of Premier League pastures and of Manchester United prestige and money will tempt any player, it should also be taken into consideration all the pros and positives that he currently has in the red and white side of Madrid.
Firstly, Griezmann is a player that has tremendous respect for his Argentine coach and mentor. Prior to the start of the season, it was revealed that Griezmann wanted a word of confidence that Simeone would still be in charge for the 16/17 campaign.
It’s easy to forget that Simeone’s remarks following Atlético’s Champions League final defeat allowed for speculation and question marks to be made of the manager’s future. But Griezmann was reassured that El Cholo would stay and that’s telling of his admiration for his coach.
?Simeone: it's natural for clubs with money to want Oblak and Griezmann.
— AtléticoFans (@AtleticoFans) January 19, 2017
The relationship with his manager aside, Griezmann is at a club that has had more recent success, domestically and on the continent, compared to Manchester United, who have undergone a rebuilding period following Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure.
Sure, the Special One has the Red Devils playing better than their last two managers did, but Griezmann still has the opportunity to achieve more with Atleti in the near future.
Not to take anything away from Manchester United’s ability to win or Mourinho’s ability to churn out title winning campaigns, but Atlético under Simeone usually results in contending for titles, even if this La Liga season looks lost. Griezmann knows this and is certainly weighing his options.
If you asked this writer if I think Griezmann is thinking about his future, I’d respond with a hard “yes,” it’s more than likely. If you asked me if I think he will leave for Manchester United, I’d respond with another, “yes.”
But if you asked me if he were to leave this summer, I’d give a hard “no,” especially as Atleti will most likely be facing a transfer ban.
I think it’s safe to say that, at the very least, he’ll stay for the first season at the Wanda Metropolitano (I still hate that name).
What are your thoughts, was Grizi talking about his future or are we clutching at straws?
Follow Carlo Valladares on Twitter: https://twitter.com/C_V_News