Griezmann handed historic No.8 shirt on Atlético return
Griezmann will take the squad number which became free when Saul joined Chelsea. Former Atleti No.8s include Raúl García, Schuster, Adelardo, Luis Aragonés.
Antoine Griezmann has been assigned a squad number on his return to Atlético Madrid. For the most part of his career, he has worn the No.7, but when he left Atleti in 2019 after his first spell at the club, that number was inherited by new signing João Félix.
Atlético had several options open for Griezmann - free numbers included 3, 25 or the possibility of taking the number 17 which in theory, belongs to Saponjic, but he has not entered in any squad list so far this season and could still leave the club to a league where the transfer window remains open (Turkey or Serbia for example). Griezmann was given the No.17 shirt during his first season at Barcelona because Coutinho had the No.7. In the end, he decided to take the No.8 which became free this week when Saúl Ñíguez left to join Chelsea. The French forward is a huge follower of the NBA, and has been wearing a Lakers No.8 shirt in honour of Kobe Bryant.
The number 8 shirt is steeped in history at Atlético as it has been worn by some of the club's iconic figures. The most recent owner was Saúl, who wore it since 2016 after it was left free by Raúl García, a player who little by little won the hearts of Atleti fans. Gabi also wore it for one season (2006-07), before he left only to return four years later to become a club idol with the No.14 on his back. During the rest of the new millennium, the No.8 shirt hasn't bestowed its magical powers to much effect with owners including Kranevitter, Salvio, Ibagaza, Richard Núñez, Musampa, Albertini and Mena.
Atlético's famous No.8s
But looking back, it is a number which is associated with a number of Atlético legends. Simeone wore it before switching to the No.14 with which he lifted the double in 1996. Juan Vizcaino wore it during the season of the famous league and Cup double. Bernd Schuster, Leivinha, Rubén Ayala, Jabo Irureta and in particular, Adelardo and Luis Aragonés dazzled in the No.8 shirt and delighted fans - fans who Griezmann will have to win over again, with some of them still annoyed about the way he left the club two years ago. But the French player is nevertheless a big part of the club's history - he is the fifth top goal scorer of all-time (133 goals) in the top 50 of players to have made the most appearances (257), figures which he will doubtless improve on in his second spell at Atleti.