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Opinion: 3 reasons why Barcelona should go for Neymar rather than Antoine Griezmann

Elvis Ume O
ANALYST
Feature
6.09K   //    20 Jun 2019, 12:30 IST

#2 Over the years, Antoine Griezmann has shown a penchant for choking on the biggest stages

Andorra v France - UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier
Andorra v France - UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier

Diego Simeone deserves immense credit for transforming Atletico Madrid from a floundering mid-table side in La Liga into one of the fiercest competitors in all of Europe.

With their newfound status as one of the top teams on the continent, it is no surprise that the team has been regularly contesting for the biggest prizes in Europe, with the club making it to the final of the Champions League on two occasions as well as winning La Liga and the Europa League in the last five years.

For his part, Antoine Griezmann has also tranformed into one of the best forwards in the world since swapping Real Sociedad for Atletico Madrid in 2014, maintaining the respectable tally of scoring at least 20 goals in each of his five seasons so far at the Wanda Metropolitano / Vicente Calderon.

This is no mean feat and the 28-year-old deserves all the accolades he gets, but on delving deeper into his stats, you find the shocking revelation that on the stages when it matters most, Griezmann shockingly goes missing.

While he might have been the star of the show in Atleti's Europa League triumph in 2018, there are numerous other instances of when he either did not do enough or just proved a mere passerby when his team needed him most.

With France, he is an altogether different player and Les Bleus go-to man when in dire straits, but it is club form on the big stages which cause alarm bells to ring.

In his last 12 matches against Barcelona and Real Madrid, the World Cup winner has scored just three goals and registered one assist which is rather poor when you consider that the pair are Atletico's biggest rivals in La Liga.

He also went missing in both legs against Juventus in the just concluded Champions League season while also blazing a penalty to row Z in the 2016 Champions League final against Real Madrid.

By contrast, while his performances over the last two years at PSG might paint a different story, during his time at Barcelona, Neymar proved himself capable of delivering when it mattered most.

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In the second leg of the Champions League round-of-16 clash against PSG in 2017 with Barcelona facing a damning 4-0 first leg deficit, it was Neymar who took the tie on its head, scoring and registering two assists each as well as winning a penalty for Barcelona to complete a remarkable 6-1 comeback victory.

He also scored in the final of the 2015 Champions League against Juventus and showed great nerve and composure to slot home the winning penalty in a packed Maracana at the final of the 2016 Olympic Men's football tournament to grant Brazil the one gold medal in football they had not won.

Barcelona is arguably the biggest club in the world, facing the pressure of winning all major trophies they contest for and as such, they need players who can step up to the plate when it matters most and tellingly, Neymar is more of that than Griezmann.

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