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The Weekly Rojiblanco: It all comes down to this

France and Croatia will battle for the World Cup while Atlético return to training.

France Training Session - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

That’s “Grizi” to you

In a pre-World Cup Final interview, Antoine Griezmann admitted he preferred to take his own path separate from another French legend in Zinedine Zidane — or “Zizou” — saying rather than “Grizou” he preferred his own twist: “Grizi.”

That’s one of a few quotables from Griezmann’s pre-match availability as France and Croatia get ready to go toe-to-toe in Moscow. The Atlético Madrid talisman — who will be possibly fighting for the Ballon d’Or on Sunday — also took a swipe at Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who dinged France’s more defensive approach in the semifinal.


A red and white World Cup

Entering Sunday’s final — which will see Griezmann, Lucas Hernández and Thomas Lemar go up against Šime Vrsaljko — nations featuring Atlético players have won 18, drawn four and lost three. Rojiblanco representatives have scored seven goals and at least one is guaranteed to lift the World Cup on Sunday evening.

The boys are back in town

Atlético began preseason training on Wednesday with some really, really sharp training gear.

Ten first team players and 17 academy players have made up the numbers to this point, with the Spain and Uruguay internationals expected back within the next two weeks.

Rodri returns to fulfill a dream

Atlético published on their YouTube channel a four-minute interview with new arrival Rodrigo Hernández. The 22-year-old, who excelled at Villarreal last season, was a canterano for six years before he moved to the Yellow Submarine’s academy and became a key cog in their midfield. Watch the interview below.

Enrique Cerezo speaks to “El Larguero”

The Cadena SER show interviewed Atleti’s president on Thursday night. A thread of his thoughts follows.

Among the highlights: Cerezo claimed he always tells Diego Simeone that he’s too young to coach Argentina, that Griezmann eventually could claim several Ballons d’Or and he’s not afraid of him leaving. The film director also expects the Frenchman to play the Aug. 15 UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid even as the player could just be ending his vacation.

Kon’nichiwa, Fernando

Rather than travel back to a major European leagues, Fernando Torres is bucking his own established tradition and moving far east to join Japanese club Sagan Tosu. He is the second major Spanish player to announce a move to the J1 League, behind Barcelona’s Andrés Iniesta.

Torres admitted he had received offers from clubs in France and Germany in addition to a Spanish club, but he ultimately decided a move to further pastures was in his best interest.

Partey at the trophy case

Thomas Partey this week was named Ghanaian Player of the Year at the inaugural Ghana Football Awards. The 25-year-old midfielder made 50 appearance for Atlético last year, scored five goals and was frequently a standout performer. He will be installed as Ghana’s captain when they vie for the African Cup of Nations crown in 2019.

Play the kids....somewhere else

Young colchonero goalkeeper Axel Werner has accepted a loan move to newly-promoted side Huesca. Werner is third on the Atlético keeper depth chart and would not have seen much playing time if he had stayed with the club this year. It is a full-season loan move, and Werner will play and train under former Atleti player Leo Franco, who is now Huesca’s coach.

The backup plan

In case a center back leaves this summer (read: Stefan Savić), Atleti is said to be in talks with Bundesliga side Freiburg over Çağlar Söyüncü (say that five times fast). The Turkey international is valued at €25-30 million.