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Simeone to lean on Griezmann during transfer ban

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone insists he won’t waste any energy on the one-year transfer ban handed to the club by FIFA in midweek until all appeal routes have been exhausted.

The La Liga leaders and city rivals Real Madrid were both sanctioned on Thursday for irregularities in the signing of foreign nationals under 18.

“I am not going to waste energy in this situation because what interests me is that things go well (on the field).

“With the appeal anything can happen. Until there is a clearer situation after the appeal I can’t make any more comment.”

Both clubs can make transfers until the end of the month, but will then be banned from registering any new players until July 2017 unless their appeals are succesful.

However, Atletico look well-set to be able to cope with any ban having invested heavily in young talent over the past year.

The stunning form of Antoine Griezmann has not just carried Simeone’s men to the top of the table, but also to the last 16 of the Champions League and quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey.

Griezmann came off the bench to score twice against Rayo Vallecano in the Cup on Thursday to take his tally for the season to 16 and Simeone lauded the Frenchman’s progress since he joined the club from Real Sociedad 18 months ago.

“I always saw in him the need for absolute freedom because he is physically so strong. He notices where he can damage the opponent and for that reason he was performed so well during all this time,” said Simeone.

“He is quick, can score with his head or his feet, he is a very complete player and he has been given something by his teammates and the club, which is consistency.

“He is now a man on the pitch. His effort shows that talent is very important, but it is nothing without hard work.”


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