Despite coming back from 2-0 down with ten men Atlético Madrid still faced the issue of how long Antoine Griezmann would be banned for. The sending off incident itself was confusing, as the red card was brandished soon after the yellow. The referee’s report added some clarity to the situation, noting that it was a first yellow for simulation, and a second for what he said to the referee.
In this situation, Atleti have faced worse bans just last season, when Diego Godín was sent off for telling a referee he was “very bad” and to “put on some glasses” and for that offence he was banned for three matches. Antoine Griezmann was reported to have said, “you’re a bottler” or coward depending on the preferred translation. The main issue was Griezmann’s use of foul language in addition to the insult to the referee. Of all the players one could have predicted to be sent off, Griezmann certainly would not have been top of the list.
This was a historic moment for Griezmann, as it was his first time being sent off in over 250 matches in La Liga. His presence will certainly be missed in the team, especially his goals, but it will be interesting to see how the side functions without him. Given the circumstances and some of the length bans Atleti have been handed in the past, it’s hard to feel aggrieved with this one, as it was silly to agitate the referee, even if he felt it was not simulation.
Whether or not it was a dive can be debated, there was contact, but Griezmann went down very easily. Hopefully Griezmann learns from his first red card and can remain disciplined for most of the season, as he will be needed, especially in the first half of the season. Atleti will go on two tough road trips without Griezmann, the the Canary Islands, and then to Mestalla against Valencia.