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‘Happy’ Griezmann warms up for Sunday’s top of the table clash

Madrid, Thursday @PeopleSports11

Antoine Griezmann says he is trying to bring joy to Atletico Madrid fans after drawing criticism for ‘shushing’ supporters in a match earlier this year.

Griezmann gave a mesmerising individual display for Atletico on Wednesday, scoring all four goals in a 4-0 demolition of Leganes that saw Diego Simeone’s men move within four points of La Liga leaders Barcelona.

A second hat-trick in four days after a treble against Sevilla on Sunday indicates Griezmann is one of the world’s hottest players, with his first strike against Leganes bringing up his 100th Atleti goal in all competitions.

“You have to enjoy it, I’m trying to give people joy,” Griezmann told beIN SPORTS after a blistering performance saw the striker reach 15 La Liga goals for the season. “I could have made a mistake, but in the field I’ve never been wrong, I’m very happy and we’re going to continue like this,” he added.

When pressed about the mistakes he referred to, Griezmann added: “In everything I have been able to say and in telling the fans to be quiet, but I hope to have your love until the end.” Griezmann has been linked with a move to Barca at the end of the season but Simeone’s men, who travel to Camp Nou on Sunday, have piled pressure on the leaders.

“I’m happy with my performance, but as I always say, the three points are the most important,” Griezmann added. He went on: “Now let’s go to Barcelona to see if we can do something beautiful. We have 12 games left and we are going to try to win all of them and we will see how far we can go.”

Meanwhile, fourth-placed Valencia are a point behind Real Madrid after drawing 1-1 with Athletic Bilbao at San Mames. Los Che were on course to leapfrog Real, who lost 1-0 at Espanyol on Tuesday, into third place until Óscar de Marcos brought Athletic level with a strike four minutes after the break.

Geoffrey Kondogbia gave Valencia the lead in the first half with a fine strike in the 23rd minute and the veteran Athletic striker Aritz Aduriz then had a 36th-minute penalty saved by Neto, the spot-kick being given following Jeison Murillo’s tackle on Markel Susaeta.

Sevilla bounced back from being thrashed 5-2 at home by Atlético Madrid on Sunday, winning 1-0 at rock-bottom Málaga, with Joaquin Correa scoring in the 15th minute. -AGENCIES

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