Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann reacted with apparent shock and protestation at Diego Simeone’s decision to replace strike partner Kevin Gameiro in the 70th minute of the Rojiblancos’ impressive 4-2 away win at Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday.
Gameiro's standout display
Gameiro had been at the heart of Atleti’s barnstorming Champions League performance in the Bay Arena, especially in the first half, when the Frenchman’s blistering pace and bottomless energy tore the German side’s defence to shreds.
After laying Atletico’s second on a plate for compatriot Griezmann following a wonderful solo run and measured assist, Gameiro -- who scored the 2nd fastest LaLiga hat trick in history on the weekend -- then grabbed his own goal that his standout display so deserved, knocking home from the penalty spot.
So when Diego Simeone – who adjudged Gameiro’s influence to be waning on the 70 minute mark – decided to replace him with midfielder Thomas, Griezmann unsurprisingly looked a little dismayed as the switch.
"Do not take him off!", says dismayed Griezmann
"No, no, no, do not take him off, he's the best, he's the best!" Griezmann uttered as he looked over at the bench, wagging his finger in a disapproving manner.
Griezmann wasn’t the only one to disapprove. Gameiro also walked towards the touchline in a visibly irate state, commenting after the game that “I don’t understand” the swap but “respect it”.
Ultimately, the substitution didn’t matter, as another second-half substitute, Fernando Torres, came on to head home, vindicating Simeone’s tactical nous and restoring his side’s two-goal advantage after a Leverkusen fightback.