Lucas Hernandez has said claimed that there is belief in “90 per cent” of the footballing world that Antoine Griezmann is an equal to Lionel Messi of Barcelona and Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo.
The debate over Griezmann’s quality has been fuelled by the player’s own declaration that he should be in the running for the Ballon d’Or this year , having missed out on a nomination for FIFA’s The Best prize.
Furthermore, the attacker, who helped France win the World Cup at Russia 2018, later said that he feels he is on a par with Messi and Ronaldo – the undisputed footballing greats of the 21st century.
Sergio Ramos, a rival at Real Madrid and a long-time colleague of Ronaldo, however, goaded Griezmann's assertions .
“Griezmann saying he is on the same table than Cristiano and Messi? Ignorance is very bold,” he told reporters earlier in the week.
Lucas, though, appears to have paid little heed to Ramos.
Speaking after Atleti defeated Monaco 2-1 in the Champions League on Tuesday, he said: “I think that 90% of the world believes that Griezmann is at the same level as Messi and Ronaldo.
“Maybe Sergio Ramos doesn’t like it, that Antoine has spoken his mind. We know that he defends his interests. He’s in a rival team, the team of the capital. We know that there’s a great rivalry between the teams and it’s normal that he defends his interests and we defend ours.”
Griezmann, 27, has managed only a single goal in six outings for Atleti since returning from international duty in the summer, though he did create Diego Costa’s equalising goal at Stade Louis II.
Similarly, Atleti have made a slow start to the season in La Liga, with only five points claimed from their opening five matches, leaving them seven adrift of early pacesetters and defending champions Barcelona.
On Saturday, they have the opportunity to cut the gap as they travel to Getafe.
Meanwhile, the opportunity for Lucas and Griezmann to square up against Ramos on the field of play awaits on Saturday, September 29, when the first Madrid derby of the season will take place at the Santiago Bernabeu.