Diego Simeone has heaped praise on Antoine Griezmann after he scored four goals against Leganes on Wednesday evening.
Griezmann became the third player (after Sergio Aguero and Fernando Torres) this century to reach 100 goals for Atletico Madrid in the side’s victory over Leganes at the Wanda Metropolitano this evening.
The Frenchman notched his second hat trick in a row on a day where rumours of a completed move to Barcelona were plastered all over social media.
“He has played at this level at other stages in previous seasons,” Simeone told his post-match press conference.
“He is an extraordinary player and he has showed this many times in the past, but also the rest of the team is helping him to reach this level.
“The pass from Koke was fantastic, the pass from Filipe Luis was fantastic, the pass from Costa was fantastic.
“Obviously, with his talent, he can provide great teamwork.”
Simeone made two changes to the side that hammered Sevilla on Sunday, with Juanfran and Angel Correa taking to the field in place of Sime Vrsaljko and Gabi.
Asier Garitano made five changes to the team that started in the goalless draw with Las Palmas on Saturday, with Watford loanee Nordin Amrabat taking to the bench and former Liverpool winger Nabil El Zhar sitting out.
The home side went looking for a goal as soon as the first half commenced, with Diego Costa and Saul both seeing shots go wide in the first two minutes. Guerrero and Eraso Goni also had opportunities to score for the visitors in the early stages of the half, but neither attempt troubled Oblak.
Following a Griezmann free kick hitting the bar, Leganes almost grabbed the opening goal of the game when Diego Rico found Gumbau outside the box, however his attempt struck the woodwork.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 26th minute when Koke picked up the ball from the half way line and played a through ball towards Griezmann, who cooly slotted the ball past Cuellar to grab his first for the evening. The Frenchman grabbed his second of the night nine minutes later, hitting a free kick to the top left corner following a Gumbau foul on Koke.
Leganes brought on Amrabat and Alex Mozo prior to the start of the second half to try and pull one back, but within 10 minutes the game was effectively over. Felipe Luis whipped in a cross from the left hand side which was met by the head of Griezmann to score both Atleti’s and his third goal of the evening.
In the 67th minute, Unai Bustinza nearly prevented Jan Oblak from obtaining a 16th clean sheet of the season following a cross by Naranjo, however his attempt flew over the bar. A minute later and the fourth and final goal of the evening was scored. Diego Costa crossed the ball into the box, and Griezmann shot towards Cuellar’s bottom right corner to make it 15 league goals this season.