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Griezmann declines to talk about his future at Atletico

AP  |  Lyon 

spoke with an air of resignation when asked if the club can stop from leaving.

The striker's stock rose higher when he scored two expert goals on Wednesday night to help the Spanish club win the with a 3-0 win against

"If he stays with us, we'll continue to grow and develop. He's a lad who has given so much," said.

"We've always competed at the highest level. In sporting terms we're not very far away from those who have deeper pockets than us." Those deeper pockets belong to Spanish champion Barcelona, which this season signed two of the world's four most expensive players in and

Spanish media has been rife with reports in recent weeks that Griezmann will soon be on his way to join them. Even has acknowledged his club met with Griezmann's agent in October.

"He always made the right decisions and I hope he'll be happy to be with us," said Simeone, who signed Griezmann from Real Sociedad four years ago. "He has been solid, solid as a rock, always present." Since joining, the forward has netted 112 goals in 208 games to become a firm fan favorite.

"The feelings you have for a club grow over time. I've been here for four years and I feel very much at home here," Griezmann said after his match-winning performance.

"When I arrived at the didn't have this feeling. Now I feel it's much stronger, I have stronger ties with my teammates and fans."

However, he stopped short of saying those ties are enough to prevent him leaving.

"I don't think now is the time to talk about my future," Griezmann repeated when twice asked if he'll stay.

If he leaves, will have to do what he does best in reshaping his team while keeping it highly competitive. Losing Griezmann would hinder Atletico's chances of winning the again and for the first time.

But Simeone, a skillful yet during his own career, never puts one above the team.

"We only focus on the good of the team, and when we only focus on that the players keep demanding more of themselves," he said.

"They themselves are the ones who rise to the challenge. That's what allows us to reinvent ourselves.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, May 17 2018. 15:30 IST