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Hard-working Griezmann among top three in world: Simeone

Reuters , Saturday 21 May 2016
Antoine Griezmann
Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann celebrates a goal against Malaga during their Spanish first division soccer match at Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, November 22, 2014 (Reuters)
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Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone rates Antoine Griezmann as one of the top three players in the world and says the forward owes it to his ability to work hard and the willingness to listen.

A prolific Griezmann has been key to Atletico's success this season and Simeone will expect the French forward to live up to his expectations in next Saturday's Champions League final against Real Madrid.

Asked how Griezmann had grown, Simeone said, "Work. A lot of effort, accepting he has to listen. The best way to improve is to listen. Now, at the moment, he is among the three best players in the world."

Against Real Madrid in Milan, Simeone, however, demands a collective display from his team.

"I expect things from the team, I don't concentrate on the individual. We have a form and a structure of working on the collective and the individual talent appears within that."

The coach was not giving many clues away regarding his starting line-up in Milan.

"(Jose) Gimenez, (Stefan) Savic, Lucas (Hernandez) or (Diego) Godin. Any of the four could play. The four are very good, each one in their own moment," he said of the central defence.

"(Yannick Carrasco) is one of the boys that arrived and quickly adapted to what the team needs. He has a tremendous future. Whatever minute we use him in, he can make the difference.

"It could be 60, 90, 30 minutes. He can play the number of minutes the team needs. The minutes on the pitch have to be quality minutes. In a final one minute can mean everything."

Simeone expressed his delight to be returning to the San Siro, where he played while with Inter Milan between 1997 and 1999.

"Pure football," he said, when asked for his thoughts on the venue for the final.

"I remember the people of Inter with a lot of affection. I have a lot of memories from my time in Milan and the stage is spectacular. The stands are close to the pitch, the pitch is fantastic, and there is a good atmosphere."

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