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Atlético Madrid 2016-17 Player Ratings: Forwards

Part two of ITC’s end of the year coverage, this time the attackers of Atleti.

Club Atletico de Madrid v Villarreal CF - La Liga Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Antoine Griezmann (8): So often an enigma for Atlético Madrid this season, Antoine is clearly one of Atleti’s best players, but in many matches he is nowhere to be found, before popping up with a goal, often at important times. And despite a lengthy dry spell with regard to goals, Griezmann finished the season as Atleti’s top scorer, as well as playing the second most amount of minutes in La Liga and Champions League matches, just behind Koke. After a very long 2016 where the Frenchman played all the way until the climax of the 2015/16-club season, as well as the entirety of the 2016 UEFA European Championships, Griezmann understandably struggled due to the sheer amount of football he played. From October 2 to January 7, Griezmann did not score a La Liga goal, and it was in this period that the chance of a title challenge faded for Atleti and never came back. Griezmann spent most of the season on the pitch playing well, particularly in the latter half of the season, but off the pitch he was much more concerned with talking about moving away from Atleti. His antics in the press certainly have not endeared him to anyone, or made him seem any more loyal, much like his rapid switching of NBA jerseys. It seems a move is very much imminent should the transfer ban be overturned, and even possibly if not. Either way, Griezmann had an extremely taxing season, playing 90 minutes a colossal 36 times, not including Copa del Rey matches. He also picked up a statistical nightmare of a habit of shooting more from outside of the box, and scored more, but that will likely not last long term. If Griezmann stays, which seems more and more unlikely by the day, he will hopefully be able to produce earlier in the season. If it is goodbye, then Antoine will leave as a dutiful servant to Atleti, but if he wants to win trophies, he should not take penalties at his next club.

Fernando Torres (7.3): More than just a player for Atlético Madrid at this stage, Fernando Torres is an icon, who can do no wrong in the eyes of many fans. This season saw El Niño move into a role, which is more fitting for a player of his age, as an impact sub. His scoring was patchy, at best, scoring ten goals across Liga, Champions League and Copa matches, providing 6 assists. Fernando appeared as a substitute 22 times this season and only played the full 90 minutes three times. Torres will never be what he once was, but there can be little debate that he is an effective striker from the bench, and making appearances when rotation is needed. It seems most likely that Torres will renew his contract for another year, providing more valuable veteran presence in the dressing room. However, if at crucial times, Torres is getting starts then something has gone terribly wrong.

Ángel Correa (6.5): Ángel Correa will now be forever associated with Atleti due to his scoring of the final ever La Liga goal at the Vincente Calderón. And in typical fashion for Correa it came at the end of hard work from another player and he was presented with a high percentage chance that he put away. This season Ángel did not make as much headway as he could have in terms of fulfilling his potential. Mostly, he was limited to substitute appearances, and played 90 minutes just three times. What Correa has been for some time now is a player that makes extremely frustrating decisions while having very good underlying stats. Both he and Torres averaged the most shots in the box per 90 minutes out of all the Atleti forwards. Due to the transfer ban being upheld, Correa will likely remain at Atleti next season, which is good for those that believe in his potential that is clear to see, but he still needs to mature as a footballer, and it is possible that next season we see a breakout from Correa, which his stats have for some time now foretold.

Kevin Gameiro (6): And finally we have the greatest conundrum in the current squad. After a spectacular season with Sevilla, Gameiro earned a huge transfer fee, which was far more than his value. While that is certainly not his fault, it meant that expectations were unbelievably high for him this season, and despite scoring 16 goals across three competitions he failed to impress. Most of his goals came in big wins, and often several matches apart, as he had lingering injuries throughout his season that prevented him from developing any solid run of form. Gameiro only scored in consecutive matches twice this season, the latter of those coming in Feburary, which was by far his best month in an Atleti shirt, scoring five goals and registering two assists, despite playing just 234 minutes, and never a full 90. Again though, his Atleti career will likely be extended another year due to the transfer ban, unless a monumental offer came in from somewhere like China. Gameiro is a good player, but not a €40 million player.