France head coach Didier Deschamps is happy to give Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba his opinion on their futures but has warned them to be sure they make the right choice for their careers.

Atletico Madrid striker Griezmann confirmed last week that he intends to leave the Wanda Metropolitano at the end of the season, despite only agreeing a new five-year contract last year.

Pogba, meanwhile, has been heavily linked with a move to LaLiga giants Real Madrid after a largely difficult season with Manchester United.

Deschamps – who has named both players in his squad for a friendly against Bolivia and subsequent Euro 2020 qualifiers against Turkey and Andorra next month – will give them his view but is keen for them not to come to regret their decisions.

"Players are making choices, I'm not there to advise them," he told a media conference.

"I'm here to give them my opinion, but it's about them. It depends on their career, people and family.

"Most of them ask for my opinion. They can use it or not; it's not my choice.

"What matters is that when they decide something important, they think it is the correct choice. But sometimes you think, 'yes it's a good choice to join that club' and then it's not. It's easy to say after the fact. It goes well or badly."

Despite criticism of Pogba's form towards the end of the campaign, he ended 2018-19 with 13 Premier League goals and a further nine assists – more than any of his United team-mates managed – and earned a place in the PFA Team of the Year.

Deschamps believes people are too quick to find faults in the 26-year-old's game and says he brings a lot more than just goals.

"I hope you're watching all his games in the Premier League," he added. "We see Paul when he scores and gives assists, but Paul is not just about that. With us, he scores fewer goals, but he was and still is very important.

"A season lasts 10 months and players can't be at their peak all the time. With France, he knows I'm asking him different things because we have a team, and he's doing it very well."

Antoine Griezmann's decision to turn down a move to Barcelona last year "hurt" the club, according to Xavi.

Griezmann was strongly linked with signing for Barca after the 2017-18 season but he eventually announced in a televised documentary he would stay at Atletico Madrid.

However, after Barca held off Atleti to defend their LaLiga crown, France forward Griezmann confirmed his intention to leave the Madrid club after five years.

Barca are reportedly again front-runners for his signature, though head coach Ernesto Valverde has refused to discuss how Griezmann could fit into a forward line with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

And Xavi, who won eight LaLiga titles at Barca and made his last professional appearance for Al-Sadd before hanging up his boots this week, hinted there may be leftover bad feeling at Camp Nou over Griezmann's previous rejection of a move.

"I understand it hurt what he did last summer," Xavi said to Sport. "If the reason for the rejection [from Barca players] was only a footballing issue, I'd speak with the dressing room to make them see he's a player who can bring something.

"We have to see, however, who is signing him? The sporting director? Valverde? The president? If I came to Barca I would ask for the signings, and if the dressing room doesn't agree with any of them I'd speak with them, but in the end I decide. Be it Griezmann or whoever.

"Another thing would be if the coach doesn't want him either. Then we have a problem."

Barca have given Valverde their backing despite their latest Champions League disappointment, with Xavi making his ambitions to coach at Camp Nou clear.

"If one day I come back to Barcelona it's all a consequence of knowing that I will be judged," he added.

"Everyone wants to be at a big team. It would be more comfortable to go to a second division club but I'm competitive and I like big challenges.

"I know what will come, I will go bald or my hair will turn white, but it is what it is."

Messi made it clear the Champions League was Barca's top priority in 2018-19 but he was unable to add to the four European titles he has won at the club.

"That's more than a few, we only had one before," Messi's former team-mate Xavi said. "We were able to win more but it's hard to win the Champions League.

"[Pep] Guardiola's Barca were better than the rest of the teams and we only won two of four. Chelsea and Inter knocked us out. But be calm, Messi's not finished yet.

"We always talk about the post-Messi era, but Leo has three or four good years left. At the top level, like now, because he looks after himself, he's incredibly professional, he's physically strong, a beast mentally. He's the number one at everything."

Atletico Madrid chief executive Miguel Angel Gil Marin said the LaLiga club need "players totally committed" and ensured those who have "abandoned" the team will be replaced by quality amid Antoine Griezmann's plans to leave.

Griezmann will depart Atletico after five years, with the France international and World Cup winner linked to LaLiga champions Barcelona, having turned down a move to Camp Nou last year.

It is set to be a busy off-season for Atletico, who will lose captain Diego Godin, Lucas Hernandez and Griezmann, while there is uncertainty over Rodri, Filipe Luis, Juanfran and Diego Costa.

And CEO Gil Marin called on the squad to step up next season amid a period of change, with Atletico coming off a runners-up finish in LaLiga this term.

"[We need] players totally committed to the project, in which the group is above any individuals, as we aim to compete at the highest level as we have been doing all these years," Gil Marin said via the club's website.

"Players who have abandoned our club will be replaced by players of the maximum level in order to continue competing and achieving the club's objectives.

"It is important that some players who have been in the shadow of the dressing room take a step forward and assume a leading role.

"Those who arrive will have to adapt quickly to the way we understand football.

"We need our group to be made up of players who want to be here and feel proud of wearing this shirt and this should weigh more than the ambition to earn more money."

Lionel Messi equalled Telmo Zarra's record of six Pichichi awards after the Barcelona star finished the 2018-19 season as the leading scorer in LaLiga.

The Argentinian has had a sensational campaign for Barca in the league, scoring 36 times in 34 appearances.

His form has been the main catalyst for Barca's title surge, with the Catalans finishing the season 11 points clear of nearest rivals Atletico Madrid at the top of the table.

Messi has rarely looked in danger of being caught, with team-mate Luis Suarez and Real Madrid's Karim Benzema the closest to him with 21 apiece.

It is the sixth time in his career Messi has taken home the Pichichi trophy as LaLiga's top scorer in a single season, moving him level with Athletic Bilbao great Zarra.

Among Messi's 36 goals were three hat-tricks – against Real Betis, Sevilla and Levante – while he rounded out the campaign with a brace in the 2-2 draw with Eibar.

He could yet add the European Golden Shoe too, with Messi four goals clear of Kylian Mbappe, who has one league game left to play this season with Paris Saint-Germain.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak finished a fourth successive season as the goalkeeper with the fewest goals conceded - just 27 in 37 appearances.

 

Ernesto Valverde described Antoine Griezmann as "a great player" but was unable to confirm whether he would be joining Barcelona, despite Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain distancing themselves from the World Cup-winning forward.

Griezmann announced his decision to leave Atletico Madrid in a video posted on his social media accounts on Tuesday, thanking the club's supporters for "five incredible years".

He has been linked with a transfer to Camp Nou for over a year, opting to sign a new five-year contract at the Wanda Metropolitano before the start of the 2018-19 season rather than pursue a move at that time.

With the 28-year-old set to switch allegiances, and both City's Pep Guardiola and PSG's Thomas Tuchel saying they would not be signing him, Valverde was asked whether he would be looking to add Griezmann to his squad for next season.

"We always say the same – he's a player at a different club," Valverde told a news conference.

"Who knows? He's a great player, I've never denied that. Are you going to ask every coach in football if they want him? Is that your plan?"

When asked what role Griezmann might play in his Blaugrana team, Valverde responded: "If he came you would see.

"We're talking about an assumption, a player who might come, who could be here. I'm not going to talk about his position."

Barcelona clinched the LaLiga title with three games to spare and their clash with Eibar on Sunday is of relatively low significance to both sides.

But Valverde insisted he will name a strong side to ensure his players' match fitness does not wane ahead of the Copa del Rey final against Valencia six days later and deflected further questions about transfer targets, preferring to focus on his aim of winning the double.

Asked if he had new players in his sights, he replied: "I don't know, that's an internal club matter. There are other parties involved who might have an opinion.

"The club's idea is to make the best team we can, taking into account our strengths and weaknesses. Right now we've got a final to think about. We could win the double this year.

"It has been an extraordinary season – things were broken a lot by the way we went out of the Champions League, but we won the Super Cup, the league with three games in hand. We've got the cup final to come."

He added a word of reassurance over Lionel Messi, who was short of his best in Barcelona's 2-0 win over Getafe five days after their Champions League elimination at the hands of Liverpool, who overturned a 3-0 first leg deficit on a dramatic night at Anfield.

"When you lose a game the way we did [in Liverpool] that does hit you very hard," admitted Valverde.

"Leo [Messi] is fine, better every day. The days after going out of the Champions League you find it difficult – they are not a team that is used to losing.

"But they are looking forward to the cup final, Leo as much as anyone else."

Diego Simeone was "proud" of Atletico Madrid's departing players as he all but confirmed the end-of-season exits of full-backs Filipe Luis and Juanfran.

Atletico striker Antoine Griezmann had already confirmed on Tuesday that he intends to leave the Wanda Metropolitano ahead of next season amid rumoured interest from LaLiga rivals Barcelona.

Diego Godin is also on his way out, with Inter expected to be his next destination, while Filipe Luis and Juanfran do not appear likely to sign new contracts.

All four men played a full part in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Levante, giving Atletico's travelling supporters a chance to say what will likely be a final farewell, and they will each leave with Simeone's blessing.

"I am proud of the players who are leaving the club, as they have given us so much," he said at his post-match news conference. 

"The biggest thing that Filipe, Juanfran, Griezmann and Godin leave us is not trophies, but respect. In a sporting sense I love them so much."

Atletico found themselves 2-0 down at the Ciutat de Valencia and had Angel Correa dismissed early in the second half, but Rodrigo and debutant Sergio Camello struck to snatch the 10-man visitors a point.

Simeone praised the battling spirit shown by his players to avoid defeat in their final match of the season and insisted there is plenty of reason to be cheerful, despite the loss of some star names.

"In the first half, Levante perhaps were a bit more focused and took advantage of their set pieces and breaks," he said. "In the second half, despite Correa’s red card, the team answered as warriors, gladiators, people with pride. 

"There are young and motivated players coming through and that excites us greatly."

Camello became the first player born in the 21st century to score for Atletico in LaLiga, doing so from his first shot on target in the competition.

The 18-year-old forward, who replaced the ineffective Thomas Partey at half-time, is hopeful it is the first of many goals for the club.

"I tried to help the team and today I did just that," he told reporters after the match. "I’m deeply moved. I can score goals and I proved that today. I would like to become a legend at this club, like any kid, especially an Atleti fan. I’m very happy."

Sergio Camello scored a debut goal as Atletico Madrid battled back from 2-0 down with 10 men to end their LaLiga campaign with a 2-2 draw against Levante at the Ciutat de Valencia.

Saturday's match marked the final time Antoine Griezmann, Diego Godin and Juanfran are likely to put on the Atletico shirt, but they could do little to prevent their side from falling behind in the first half.

Erick Cabaco gave Levante an early lead and Roger Marti seized on an error at the back from Thomas Partey to double his side's tally.

But the visitors pulled off the comeback, despite having Angel Correa sent off early in the second half, as Rodrigo and substitute Camello found a way through.

Atletico were behind with just six minutes played as Ruben Vezo headed the ball into the six-yard box and Cabaco converted past Antonio Adan, in for the injured Jan Oblak, with an improvised finish.

Koke produced a couple of good stops to thwart Filipe Luis and Griezmann in the space of three minutes, while Godin's downward header bounced off the ground and skimmed the post as the visitors responded strongly.

But a stray pass from Thomas 36 minutes in gifted Levante a second goal, with Roger the player to profit as he charged through and lifted the ball over Adan.

Diego Simeone's day went from bad to worse when Angel Correa was dismissed for kicking out at Chema Rodriguez following a challenge - VAR being used to overrule the referee's initial call to show just a yellow for the incident.

Atletico were given a lifeline 22 minutes from time thanks to Rodrigo's arrowed shot into the top corner of the net, and 18-year-old Camello marked his first appearance in the top flight by slotting home after Koke saw a shot blocked.

Antoine Griezmann is in the starting line-up for his Atletico Madrid farewell as Diego Simeone's side conclude their LaLiga campaign away to Levante.

France star Griezmann has announced this season will be his last with the Rojiblancos amid widespread reports of an impending switch to Barcelona.

The 28-year-old only agreed a new five-year contract at the Wanda Metropolitano last June but, on Saturday, he is due step out for the final time as an Atleti player.

Long-serving defender Diego Godin, who is also on his way out of the club, wears the armband ahead of a mooted move to Serie A side Inter.

Jan Oblak misses out due to a thigh injury, meaning Antonio Adan deputises in goal, while Thomas Lemar gets another opportunity to improve on a largely underwhelming first season in Spain.

Atleti are already confirmed as finishing second behind champions Barca.

Levante, meanwhile, boast a six-point buffer to the bottom three and cannot be relegated regardless of the result at the Ciutat de Valencia.

Alvaro Morata wants Antoine Griezmann's decision to leave Atletico Madrid to be respected.

France forward Griezmann announced this week that he intends to leave Atleti after five years at the club, despite signing a contract extension running until 2023 last year.

Lucas Hernandez and captain Diego Godin are also saying their farewells to the Wanda Metropolitano and, with fan emotion potentially becoming frayed, Morata called for Griezmann's contribution to the Atletico cause to be acknowledged.

"It's a decision that we have to respect, we have to thank him for what he's done for this club, which is a lot, and we respect his decision," said the on-loan Chelsea striker, whose deal means he is set to be with Atleti throughout 2019-20.

"We wish he could have stayed, but he's taken that decision. We are finishing the season, but we have the same excitement for next season.

"Change is always difficult, but we are working to make a competitive team and fight for it all next season.

"We are very motivated in the dressing room for the future, it's very important."

Barcelona are heavily tipped to be Griezmann's next employers, but Morata insists he has "no idea" what his team-mate is planning.

"Everyone found out [he was leaving] in their own way, it depends on the relationship we have with him," he said.

"It doesn't matter how; the situation is what it is. We have to accept it and keep going."

Morata's old club Real Madrid, meanwhile, have been strongly linked with a big-money swoop for Chelsea star Eden Hazard.

"He's one of the best players in the world and could fit in well in any team, the team he wants," Morata said.

"He's a top player and top person, he'd fit in at any team."

Morata was also asked whether Chelsea's pending transfer ban could result in a scenario where he is recalled from his loan.

The Blues intend to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to see if the ban on registering new players for the next two transfer windows can be frozen or overturned, but Morata wants to stay with Atletico regardless.

"I don't know, there are contracts," he added. "My focus is to get on the pitch and play.

"What is clear is what I want - I want to be here.

"I'm not thinking about going back anywhere, only being here. I'm happy here and I want to be here for the years I have left at the top level.

"There are things that players have to not get involved in, there are negotiations and contracts. I did all I could to come to Atletico and I will do everything to stay."

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo said he was "disappointed" by Antoine Griezmann's decision to leave the LaLiga club.

Griezmann announced this season would be his last for Atletico, the club he joined from Real Sociedad in 2014.

The France international has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona despite signing a contract extension with Atletico until 2023 just last year.

A surprised Cerezo said he was saddened by Griezmann's decision to depart the Wanda Metropolitano.

"More than annoyed, I am disappointed. I thought that Antoine had a great future at Atletico, with big titles and big league wins," he told Fox Sports on Wednesday.

"The problem is that everyone thinks in their own way. We respect his decision, I and Atletico fans. We wish him all the luck in the world. One goes and others will come.

"I don't know where he will play, ask him. He can play where he likes.

"This is a surprise, it's a disappointment. If I was his advisor I would have told him to stay here. It's a free life and everyone can do what they think is right."

Griezmann won the Europa League, UEFA Super Cup and Supercopa de Espana during his five seasons with Atletico.

Antoine Griezmann looks set to be at the heart of 2019's major transfer saga, having announced his intention to leave Atletico Madrid.

Griezmann has been Atletico's leading light since he joined from Real Sociedad five years ago, but he confirmed on Tuesday he will leave the Wanda Metropolitano at the end of the season, with Barcelona reportedly his preferred destination.

Atletico can reflect on a period of success for the club with Griezmann playing a key role, the France forward firing them to Europa League glory last year before winning the World Cup with his country.

Replacing Griezmann will prove a major challenge for Diego Simeone as the striker has scored 133 of their 463 goals in all competitions since 2014-15, 28.7 per cent of the club's total.

But how does that figure compare to some of the other elite strikers of European football in recent seasons?

 

CRISTIANO RONALDO

There was European disappointment for Cristiano Ronaldo this season, but he helped Juventus cruise to another Serie A title and contributed 28 of the 86 goals they scored in all competitions - 32.6 per cent

That figure is remarkably similar to his record at Real Madrid between the 2009-10 and 2017-18 seasons, where he was responsible for 450 of their 1,378 goals - 32.7 per cent - contributing to a historic run of three consecutive Champions League crowns.


LIONEL MESSI

Griezmann could line up with Lionel Messi at Camp Nou next term, with the Argentina attacker on track to win the European Golden Shoe for a record sixth time.

Messi, now captain at Barca, has scored 27.9 per cent of his team's goals since breaking into the team as a teenager in October 2004.

LUIS SUAREZ

Griezmann is widely expected to be a successor to Luis Suarez, with the Uruguay international aged 32 and seemingly coming towards the end of his career.

Suarez has scored 177 of 767 Barcelona's goals in all competitions - 23.1 per cent - since he joined the club from Liverpool in 2014.


ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI

Bayern Munich look set to clinch another Bundesliga title, their success continuing to be built around the reliable goalscoring of Robert Lewandowski.

Poland international Lewandowski joined Bayern in July 2014 and has since scored 189 goals in all competitions for the club, 29.7 per cent of their total in that time.


HARRY KANE

Pep Guardiola once famously described Tottenham as 'the Harry Kane team' and the Opta numbers bear out his assessment to a degree.

England captain Kane has scored 30.6 per cent of Spurs' 519 goals in all competitions since the start of the 2014-15 campaign, winning two Premier League Golden Boots in the process.


SERGIO AGUERO

Perhaps surprisingly, Manchester City's all-time record goalscorer Sergio Aguero has the joint-lowest percentage for his club among the strikers we examined.

Since joining City ahead of the 2011-12 season he has scored 231 of their 1,019 goals in all competitions for a comparatively low 22.7 per cent. However, that still marks a hugely significant contribution to City's ongoing success. 



EDINSON CAVANI

Paris Saint-Germain's all-time leading goalscorer Edinson Cavani has had an injury-hit campaign for the Ligue 1 champions.

Since 2013-14, Suarez's international team-mate Cavani has scored 192 of PSG’s 847 goals in all competitions - 22.7 per cent - although he did play wide when Zlatan Ibrahimovic was at the club.

Antoine Griezmann will not replace Philippe Coutinho at Barcelona at the end of the season, according to the Brazilian's agent.

Despite an encouraging start to life at Barca, Coutinho has failed to recapture the form he showed at Liverpool before his €160million switch in January 2018.

This term, the attacking midfielder has managed only five LaLiga goals in 34 appearances and failed to nail down a place in the starting XI, with 12 of his league outings coming from the bench.

Coutinho's underwhelming form has seen him become a target for Barca supporters who have jeered him on several occasions in recent months, while media reports have linked him with a move.

Griezmann's announcement on Tuesday that he will leave Atletico Madrid in the coming months will likely increase speculation surrounding Coutinho, though his representative is convinced the Frenchman potentially joining Barca will not impact his client.

"It's untrue that Griezmann is going to replace Philippe at Barcelona," Andrea Bertolucci told AS.

"I don't know why they are saying that. I don't know about that and that's why I don't want to talk anymore, but it's false."

Coutinho has a contract at Camp Nou until 2023 and is said to be interesting Manchester United, who look set for a major rebuild over the close-season.

Barcelona appear most likely to sign Antoine Griezmann after the France international announced he will be leaving Atletico Madrid, despite having signed a new five-year contract last June.

The 28-year-old, who joined Atleti from Real Sociedad for approximately €30million in July 2014, has been the club's top goalscorer across all competitions in each of his five seasons in the capital.

His exploits took him to fifth in the club's list of all-time leading scorers with 133 in all competitions, but the World Cup-winning forward brought much more than just goals to the Rojiblancos.

A detailed look at his season-by-season statistics underline his huge importance to Diego Simeone's team over the past five years, but do they also indicate his best football may be behind him?

2014-15: Stepping into Costa's boots

Griezmann had big boots to fill when he arrived at Atletico, with Diego Costa having scored 36 goals in all competitions as the club won LaLiga in the previous season.

But the France star rose to the task, scoring 25 times from 111 shots across 53 games to give himself a shot conversion rate of 22.52 per cent.

Ably supported by Mario Mandzukic (20 goals) and Fernando Torres (six), Griezmann helped the club win the Supercopa de Espana and finish third in LaLiga.

2015-16: Griezmann's most prolific campaign

With an excellent season under his belt, Griezmann settled into his groove in 2015-16 and plundered 32 goals in all competitions as Simeone's side went all the way to the Champions League final again.

They lost on penalties to Real Madrid, with Griezmann missing from 12 yards in normal time, which rather took the sheen off a fine campaign. Overall, he managed 71 shots on target compared to 47 in the previous season and increased his shot conversion rate to 24.24 per cent.

 

2016-17: Gameiro partnership blossoms

Atletico spent a reported €32million on Kevin Gameiro ahead of 2016-17 and he and Griezmann combined to score 42 goals between them in all competitions.

The bulk of those strikes came from Griezmann, who also doubled his assist tally from the previous season, laying on 12 goals for team-mates of which eight came in LaLiga.

 

2017-18: Silverware at last

Griezmann added a Europa League winners' medal to his trophy cabinet in 2017-18 while helping Atletico to a second-placed finish in LaLiga.

The season was his second best in terms of goal output, with 29 goals in all competitions and an Atletico career-high 13 assists to tee him up for a glorious World Cup campaign with Les Bleus.

2018-19: Past his peak?

Griezmann turned down the opportunity to leave Atletico before the 2018-19 season commenced and went on to have one of his most disappointing seasons in Madrid.

Simeone's men won the UEFA Super Cup but were knocked out of the Champions League in the round of 16 by Juventus and failed to prevent Barcelona from winning LaLiga with three games to spare.

On a personal level, Griezmann scored 15 league goals and 21 in all competitions – both his poorest tallies in a single season for the club – and his shot conversion rate dropped to 13.64 per cent in LaLiga and 15.44 per cent overall, the lowest since he left Sociedad.

Only time will tell if he can rediscover his best form next season, when he could be lining up against Atleti for Barca.

Antoine Griezmann thanked Atletico Madrid's fans for giving him "so much love" as he confirmed he will leave the club at the end of the season.

Griezmann is anticipated to complete a switch to LaLiga champions Barcelona - 11 months on from spurning a move to Camp Nou - after announcing on Tuesday that his five-year stint in Madrid is coming to an end.

A post from Atletico's official Twitter account on Tuesday read: "Antoine Griezmann has informed the club that he will not continue as a rojiblanco next season."

In a subsequent video released by the player and the club, Griezmann addressed Atleti's fans and expressed his gratitude.

"Hi everyone. After talking to 'El Cholo' [head coach Diego Simeone], and Miguel Angel [Gil Marin, Atleti's chief executive] and people from the board, I wanted to speak to you, Atletico fans, right away," said Griezmann.

"You, the fans, have always given me so much love, and I wanted to tell you that I've made the decision to leave, to experience different things and have new challenges.

"It’s been very hard for me to take this path, but I feel that it's what I need. I wanted to thank you for all the love you've given me in these five years, in which I've won my first important trophies with a club. They were incredible moments that I will always remember. The truth is you're in my heart.

"It isn't easy for a player to receive so much love and that's why I wanted to tell you today, so that you're the first to know after the coach and the club. Thank you very much for everything.  You're in my heart. Thank you so much.

"These five years have been really incredible. I've enjoyed everything so much.

"I've given my all on the pitch, I've tried to behave well, when you have asked me for photos. I've tried to make the fans at the Wanda Metropolitano happy, as well as the many fans who come to our away games. I'm really grateful to all of you. Thank you so much, and goodbye."

Antoine Griezmann has announced he is leaving Atletico Madrid at the end of the season amid widespread speculation he will make an impending switch to Barcelona.

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