The next one's mine - Griezmann underlines Champions League desire

Atletico Madrid's LaLiga campaign has got off to a rocky start but Antoine Griezmann wants to go deep into the Champions League.

Published : Sep 18, 2018 16:54 IST

Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann
Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann

Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann

Antoine Griezmann is determined to add the Champions League to his impressive list of honours as Atletico Madrid prepares to kick-off its latest bid for glory at Monaco on Tuesday.

Griezmann inspired Atleti to Europa League success last season, hitting a brace in the 3-0 final victory over Marseille, before starring in France's triumphant 2018 World Cup run.

Atletico dropped down to the Europa League after a Champions League group-stage exit in 2017 – quite a turn for the 2014 and 2016 runner-up, and its attacking talisman takes his share of the blame.

Griezmann, who committed his future to Atleti during the close season by penning a long-term contract until 2023, told AS : "When I see the Champions League trophy, I think, 'The next one's mine'. We didn't have a good campaign last season.

"In European football you know that any team can make life difficult for you. I wasn't at my best, and that didn't help the team. It's not so much that I'm any more determined; it's more a case of having more confidence in myself. Last year, I wasn't myself in the Champions League. But this year I feel great."

ALSO READ | Griezmann: I am on the same level as Messi and Ronaldo

The 2019 final will be staged at Atletico's Wanda Metropolitano stadium, and that's a source of extra motivation.

"The final is at the Wanda Metropolitano and that means every home game will be an incredible occasion," Griezmann said, with Borussia Dortmund and Club Brugge also awaiting as Group A opponents.

"Rather than adding pressure, what I think it'll do is make for an even better atmosphere. The crowd will be buzzing even more than usual, and that'll help us. When the going gets tough, the fans push you on and squeeze that bit more out of you."

Despite being tipped from some quarters to best Barcelona and Real Madrid in LaLiga this season, Atletico is already seven points off the pace in ninth after taking five points from its opening four matches.

ALSO READ | Atletico will grow through hard work, says Simeone

Asked whether he would prefer to emulate the 2013-14 LaLiga title success Atleti secured shortly before his arrival or lift the Champions League, the 27-year-old added: "The Champions League, without a shadow of a doubt.

"We won't be writing off LaLiga. We go out to win every game we play, be it our domestic league, the Copa del Rey, the Champions League or whatever."

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