How Antoine Griezmann became this season's most important player in Europe

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar may have made it a La Liga 1-2-3 at the Ballon d’Or, but the most important player in the Spanish league title race this season didn’t make the podium. Real Madrid and Barcelona’s depth of attacking talent means they can continue to win while even the best of their forwards are out of service – but the current La Liga leaders would be nowhere near top spot if it wasn’t for one man.

That man is Antoine Griezmann. Over the last year-and-a-half, the Frenchman has been transformed from a talented but unpolished wide forward into a ruthless, consistent winning machine – the embodiment of Atlético Madrid under Diego Simeone. The No.7’s latest match-changing contribution came only last weekend, when he struck in the 49th minute to break the deadlock away to Celta Vigo. It was a turning point that helped ensure Atleti stayed top of La Liga for a second week running.

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