Diego Simeone

Simeone Backs Griezmann For Ballon d’Or After Brace

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Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone believes Antoine Griezmann deserves to be in contention to win the Ballon d’Or.

Griezmann continued his supreme run of goal-scoring form in 2016 with a brace as Atleti thrashed Sporting Gijon 5-0 in LaLiga on Saturday.

Fernando Torres came off the bench to net his first double since returning to the club and Kevin Gameiro was also on target, but it was France international Griezmann in particular who caught Simeone’s eye, tipping him to rival Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the running for the Ballon d’Or.

“For me, last year Griezmann was the best player in Europe,” Simeone said at his post-match press conference. “I have no doubt about what I say.

“He reached the finals of both the Champions League and Euro 2016, scoring many goals, and scored many goals in LaLiga too. The consistency he has makes him stronger.

“I hope he is up there for the Ballon d’Or, as he is in great form and will get even better if he continues like this.”

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