Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann admits 'joy' of playing alongside his icon

Fernando Torres Glum

French forward Antoine Griezmann is delighted to be working with a favourite of his youth.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is keeping a keen eye on Antoine Griezmann, and it's easy to see why, with the Frenchman in such excellent form right now.

After scoring two superb goals and leading Atletico Madrid to victory against Deportivo La Coruña at the weekend, the talented 24-year-old was replaced from the bench by someone Mourinho cast aside - Fernando Torres.

Ahead of the Champions League duel with Real Madrid on Wednesday night, in an interview with Spanish press agency EFE and published by El Mundo, the in-form Atletico Madrid star revealed why he's such a big fan of Fernando Torres.

Griezmann's admiration stems back to his youth days, before he burst onto the scene with Real Sociedad, as he explained: "Every year there was a fashionable striker and back then it was Torres. Because he was playing with Spain, because he was playing with Liverpool, everyone was talking about him."

It wasn't just the ability of Torres that made Griezmann a firm fan, as he added: "He also celebrated in a way we liked. My friends and I liked to copy his celebrations."

Although Torres enjoyed an excellent spell with Liverpool, things didn't quite go to plan following his £50 million to Chelsea, which the BBC reported as a British transfer record at the time, as the Spaniard struggled to score goals.

Eventually departing from Stamford Bridge and heading to Italy with AC Milan, it was after a short stint there, the opportunity arose for an emotional return 'home' to Atletico Madrid in January this year.

As such, Griezmann noted how excited he is now, getting the opportunity to play alongside his icon, enthusing: "It's always a huge joy to welcome a great player like Torres - because he is a great player. Here, the fans have a lot of affection for him and for us, it's a joy to play alongside him."

Depending on the team Simeone picks for Wednesday's clash with Real Madrid, that 'joy' could see Griezmann and Torres paired in the Atletico Madrid attack.

Speaking of his own future, Griezmann believes he's becoming a much better player overall, thanks to the management of Simeone, noting the sensation: "I'm becoming a more complete player, feeling I'm getting better all the time. I'm full of confidence and I hope I still have plenty more to learn."

Whether that learning will continue under the careful guidance of Simeone and with Atletico, remains to be seen. Along with Chelsea, there's also been strong interest from Bayern Munich, as the summer transfer window edges ever closer.

For now though, his only thoughts are on the present and with Atletico, as he concluded: "I'm just keen to give everything I've got, to try and help the team the best I can, trying to get through to the semi-finals. These are my first quarter-finals in the Champions League and that's something I want to enjoy too."

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