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On Llorente, Theo, James, and Griezmann


A cup final against Barcelona is a stern test for any young player. It is fair to say that Marcos Llorente (22), and Theo (19), passed with flying colours, much to the delight of the Madrid faithful. Llorente recovered the ball an impressive 14 times (he leads the LaLiga statistics chart with 302), and was at the heart of Alavés’ period of domination in the second half. The bandage wrapped around his head, courtesy of an early clash which Javier Mascherano, gave him a rather epic aura. Theo did not steam-roller up the wings as much as usual, but he scored a spectacular goal; a goal that confirms his left foot as something special.

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Theo and Llorente will be fine additions

The two players will be fine additions to the Madrid squad, not least because they provide back-up for Casemiro and Marcelo, the two players that did Zidane could seldom afford to rest this season. Meanwhile, Madrid will shed one of their attacking midfielders. James said a clear goodbye in his final game of the season at the Bernabéu. The Colombian is a great footballer, but the entrenched 4-3-3 formation with the ‘BBC’ hasn’t allowed him to show his true worth. Another player who seemed surplus to requirements at one stage, Isco, also struck a blow to James’ chances at Madrid. The man from Málaga won the battle to occupy the spot in the team vacated by an absent Gareth Bale, and finished the season in spectacular fashion.

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Griezmann's show of disrespect

And what of James? At Manchester United, all but one man want him to move to Old Trafford: José Mourinho. The player that Mourinho wants is Antoine Griezmann, who seems to be irritating Atlético fans with his comments about upping-and-leaving. He says he wants to win titles… Atlético had won LaLiga (with a result at Camp Nou on the last day of the season) just before Griezmann arrived at the Calderón. Until then, he was a promising talent at Real Sociedad. Let’s not forget that Simeone’s team could have been the Champions of Europe, were it not for Griezmann’s missed penalty in Milan. It seems like he doesn’t see things this way, that when he arrived at Atlético they were a small club. I don’t think so.