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I Feared That He Would Not Be Here - Griezmann

Antoine Griezmann has said Atletico Madrid "need" coach Diego Simeone after being concerned that he would walk away in the summer.

Simeone, who has been in charge of Atletico since 2011, hinted at a possible departure after the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in May.

He was linked with Paris Saint-Germain, but in June said he would be staying with Atletico.

And Griezmann told Onda Cero radio: 

I was at the European Championship and in France they said it was almost a done deal [that Simeone would go to PSG].

I feared that he would not be here. I still need to work with him, learn from him. Atleti needs him.

Griezmann, who finished as top scorer at Euro 2016 as France reached the final, was a reported target for Manchester United this summer.

But he signed a one-year contract extension after receiving assurances that Simeone would stay at the helm.

He told me that he was going to stay, that he was talking to the club and everything would be fine, he said. That conversation reassured me.

Griezmann added that his aim was "to continue to grow with Atletico" and he believed the club "can achieve great things" -- and Simeone tipped him as a potential Ballon d'Or winner.

I try to be the best and try to give the maximum in order for people to say that I'm among the top players, the France star said.

But I don't want them to compare me to one or the other [Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi] -- I want people to know me for being Griezmann. It would be wonderful for me and for my club and France teammates to win the Ballon d'Or.

If I don't get it, it means that I just have to continue at this level and keep going.

Griezmann has scored five goals in five games so far this season, netting the winner as Atletico beat Deportivo La Coruna 1-0 on Sunday to go third in La Liga.

Atletico host Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday but will be without midfielder Augusto, who will undergo surgery after suffering ligament damage and is expected to be sidelined for at least six months.

Uruguay midfielder Jose Maria Gimenez also faces a spell on the sidelines after being stretchered off with a right adductor problem in Sunday's game.

ESPN

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