Antoine Griezmann may be a talismanic presence at Atletico Madrid, but Radomir Antic claims the World Cup-winning striker needs to be offering more to the collective cause.
A leading contender for the 2018 Ballon d’Or, a 27-year-old frontman has contributed another six goals in 16 club outings this term.
Griezmann has netted in back-to-back fixtures for the first time in 2018-19 after finding the target against Leganes and Borussia Dortmund, with his efforts helping Diego Simeone’s side to make positive progress in La Liga and Champions League competition.
He has, however, seen his involvement questioned by Antic, with a former Atletico boss looking for the Frenchman, and those around him, to find a way of making an even greater impact in games.
“As a coach I can’t accept that a player with his characteristics touches the ball only three times in 45 minutes,” Antic told Goal.
“The other day against Leganes he scored from a set-piece, but how many plays did he participate in during Atletico’s game?”
Griezmann is not the only man in Madrid who needs to offer more, though, according to Antic, with expectation have built across the board following recent successes at home and aboard and sizeable investment in fresh faces and new contracts.
“Atletico have this year broken records for transfer costs,” said Antic, who took in three spells as boss of the Rojiblancos between 1995 and 2000.
“They have the biggest budget in the history of the club. This, in a way, forces them to offer something more than we are seeing in their football, because Atletico at this moment, with the stadium and the budget, has overcome to the previously modest version of Atletico.”
He added: “Routine kills the inspiration, and in this Atletico there is no inspiration.
“It has never been argued that Atletico has used 15 or 20 strikers in the last seven years and none of them have been enough good to play.”
On the other side of the Spanish capital, Real Madrid have been enduring their own difficulties this season.
Julen Lopetegui has already been relieved of his managerial duties, with the Blancos having stumbled out of the blocks to be left playing catch-up in domestic and European competition.
Key men have disappointed to this point, and Antic is not convinced that Brazilian teenager Vinicius Junior can be their saviour despite earning rave reviews for the progress he has made.
Antic, who also spent 10 months in charge of Real early in his coaching career, said: “I don’t have anything against Vinicius, but the other day he hit a shot to the corner flag and because it ended in a goal [against Real Valladolid] he is being made out to be a phenomenon.
“There are always different points of view. Real Madrid have not had authority in their game for a long time.”
Antic, who is the only man to have managed at Real, Atletico and Barcelona, has also given his take on the pressures which accompany roles at the leading sides in Spain, with the demands placed on bosses leading to inevitable change.
“It's true that when you train Real Madrid, Barcelona or Atletico that it is not enough only to win,” he said.
“It's something that should be kept in mind.
“For me, football is always a mirror of the society that it represents. That is why when we talk about Barcelona it's ‘mes que un club’ [more than a club]. That is true because behind Barcelona there is a different society.
“Behind Real Madrid there is a different society and it is something that I had in mind with Atletico Madrid, which generally represents middle class people and never wants to be inferior to anyone.”