- Final 30 announced for Ballon d’Or
Frenchman Antoine Griezmann joins a talented list of attackers including 2016 recipient Cristiano Ronaldo. Griezmann finished third in voting in 2016, buoyed in part by his breakout performance with France at Euro 2016. While he won’t upset the Ronaldo/Lionel Messi stranglehold on the award this year, his star remains very much on the rise. The 26-year-old should be considered amongst the candidates to eventually lift the award once those two have been put out to roost.
Slovene Jan Oblak joins Gianluigi Buffon and David De Gea as the top goalkeepers on the list. While only one keeper has ever won the award—Dynamo Moscow/Soviet Union keeper Lev Yashin in 1963—making the short list is a tremendous accomplishment for Oblak, who has carved out a place as one of the world’s top keepers.
The all-time highest finish for an Atlético player was Portuguese winger Paulo Futre, who finished a close second behind winner Ruud Gullit in 1987.
The 2017 winner will be announced in December.
- Diego Costa takes a break and then returns to his suffering.
Please allow this series of tweets to fill you in on Costa’s weekend.
- Juanfran discusses his 300th game, the Champions League and a possible renewal
“I had only one thing in mind when I put on the shirt the first day: to succeed here and be an important player,” Juanfran said. “I want to add many more matches...I want to remain important.”
The 33-year-old says he feels stronger than ever and wants to maintain that level throughout the season — which he hopes will end with Gabi lifting the European Cup.
“It is clearly more difficult now than if we had taken points against Chelsea, but we only think about Qarabag now,” Juanfran said. “If we win there, things will be different.
“I remain convinced that Gabi will lift the Champions League.”
The Valencian also revealed that he had held renewal talks with CEO Miguel Ángel Gil Marín and sporting director Andrea Berta, but stressed that he’ll only renew if he feels he can still contribute to Diego Simeone’s side.
“We’ll continue talking in the upcoming months,” Juanfran said. “Hopefully, we’ll reach an agreement.”
- Vietto hopes to stay past January
Luciano Vietto gave an interview to Mundo Deportivo (en Español), wherein he stressed that he feels “great” about his start to the season and hopes to prove to Simeone that he should remain with Atlético for the rest of the season.
“I always worked to stay here,” Vietto said. “I know there was much talk, and an exit was close, but hey, all the work and effort in preseason and in friendlies to convince the coaches paid off. Today, thank God, I’m at Atlético.”
The Argentine has seen plenty of game time thus far, as he’s made five starts between LaLiga and the Champions League. He is yet to score this season and is coming up on two years without a goal for Atlético after he spent last season on loan at Sevilla.
“Hopefully I can score another goal soon,” the 23-year-old said. “I’m helping the team, and I believe that if we play well the goals will come.”
The interview is actually pretty enlightening, as Vietto talks about his preferred role and the looming specter of Diego Costa’s January registration. Recommended read.