Morata confident ‘happy’ Griezmann will remain with Atletico Madrid

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 24: Alvaro Morata of Atletico Madrid celebrates with teammate Antoine Griezmann after scoring his team's first goal during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Villarreal CF at Wanda Metropolitano on February 24, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Alvaro Morata is optimistic that Atletico Madrid’s “reference player” Antoine Griezmann will stay put, despite reported interest from Barcelona.

The French forward turned down a €100m transfer to Barcelona last season in favour of signing a new contract at Atletico until June 2023 with a release clause of €200m.

But Atletico’s Champions League last-16 exit to Juventus earlier this month has prompted rumours that Griezmann is having second thoughts on his decision to remain at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Therefore, L’Equipe suggested that Barcelona are plotting to make a fresh attempt at convincing Griezmann to join them in the summer.

The 27-year-old’s sister, Maud, then later confirmed to the very same news outlet that he is indeed disappointed by Atletico’s Champions exit but denied there has been any contact with Barcelona.

Despite these rather unsettling developments, however, Morata remains confident that Griezmann will remain at Atletico for next season.

“I am not worried [about Griezmann],” said Morata, according to SportsMax.

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 21: Zinedine Zidane, manager of Real Madrid looks on ahead of the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Athletic Club at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 21, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Zidane says Madrid is still the biggest team in Spain

The manager believes that the 33 titles Los Blancos have won in the Spanish La Liga history speak for themselves.

“Except last week when we were very upset [due to Champions League elimination], I’ve seen Antoine very happy with us. I think this is his home and he is happy here.

“Sincerely, I think he [Griezmann] is at home, he is our most important player, our key player. Everybody in the club wants him to stay with us because he is our reference player.”

The Chelsea loanee was also asked about reported interest in his Atletico and Spain team-mate Saul Niguez from Premier League champions Manchester City, who are reportedly plotting an €80m bid for the midfielder.

“That’s how the transfer market works, the best players are always linked with the top clubs in every transfer window,” said Morata.

“Saul is one of the best players in his position and, on top of that, he’s still young. We hope he stays, but all of the top clubs would love to have him in their squads.”

Both Morata and Saul have been called up for Spain’s Euro 2020 games this month in Group F.

Luis Enrique’s side will first host Norway at Valencia’s Mestalla Stadium on Saturday before taking a trip to Malta three days later.

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 08: Saul Niguez of Spain during the UEFA Nations League A group four match between England and Spain at Wembley Stadium on September 8, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

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