MADRID (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann demonstrated his importance to the Spanish club when his lightning pace forced a penalty that gave his side a crucial 1-0 victory over Leicester City in their Champions League quarter-final first leg on Wednesday.
Griezmann, who finished third in the Ballon d‘Or voting last year, has carried Atletico at times this season and it was his break that set up the penalty that he then converted past Kasper Schmeichel.
It was his 24th goal of the season, five of which have come in the Champions League, the competition Atletico are desperate to win having finished as runners-up twice in three years.
”He’s a fabulous player,“ Atletico coach Diego Simeone said of the French international. ”He’s a complete player, you don’t even know his position anymore, he’s all over the pitch.
”He’s everywhere. He can work in midfield, assist like a second striker and score like a striker.
“He’s still growing, of course, but he’s having a great end to the season and is taking responsibility in accordance with his status in the team.”
The 26-year-old, who is frequently linked with a move away from the Vicente Calderon, caused problems all over the pitch, with the Leicester defence working at full capacity to prevent him doing any more damage.
Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare said he had to tinker with his team’s set-up to shackle the dangerous forward, who Simeone has given the licence to roam.
“We made changes at half-time to control Griezmann more as he was getting too much space between the lines,” he said.
Editing by Greg Stutchbury