Antoine Griezmann is hoping to get his hands on a first major trophy with Atletico Madrid as the Spanish club prepare to take on Marseille in Wednesday’s Europa League final.
Griezmann has only won the Spanish Super Cup since joining Diego Simeone’s side four years ago, featuring in the team that lost on penalties to Real Madrid in the Champions League final in 2016.
Atletico’s build-up to this match has been overshadowed to some extent by constant speculation about his future, with the France striker being tipped to join Barcelona after the World Cup.
But his Atletico team-mates are confident the 27-year-old is fully focused on leading his side to what would be their third Europa League title since the start of the decade.
“We have been speaking about him all year. Physically he is in good shape and for him it is important to win a title because he needs it, and that is the only thing that matters to him,”
Veteran midfielder Gabi said ahead of the game. “I hope it is not his last final because we need him and he knows that we want him to stay.”
This game is a sort of homecoming for Griezmann, who has spent his whole club career in Spain but grew up in Macon, less than an hour’s drive from Lyon.
The memories of their agonising defeats to Real in the Champions League finals of 2014 and 2016 remain fresh for Simeone and his side.
However, Simeone has worked wonders with Atletico since being appointed in late 2011 and winning the Europa League just six months later.
Madrid sports daily Marca carried a picture of Simeone on its front page on Wednesday, under the headline: “The Lyon King”.
There is confidence in Spain that Atletico’s greater collective experience of European finals will give them the edge, but Simeone has been keen to avoid too many comparisons with what has come before.
“It is never good to make comparisons. The Champions League is one thing and the Europa League another,” said Simeone, who will serve a touchline ban on Wednesday, leaving his assistant German Burgos in charge.
Fears of trouble – Having dropped into this competition following a surprise group-stage exit from the Champions League, Atletico are favourites, but Marseille who entered the competition in the third qualifying round last July are motivated by the prospect of playing on home soil.
They are also driven by the desire to win a second European trophy, 25 years since beating AC Milan in the 1993 Champions League final.
“Against all reason, for history,” urged French sports daily L’Equipe, adding: “It would be an immense achievement, because nothing will be easy against Atletico.”
Officially, there will be 11,500 Marseille fans in the crowd of close to 60,000 in Lyon, but thousands more were expected to travel.
Back in Marseille itself, large numbers of fans were already gathering at the city’s Old Port on Wednesday morning as anticipation builds.
“I think the expectation in Marseille and across the country is quite extraordinary and our motivation comes from that,” said Dimitri Payet, who is confident of beng fully fit after a minor muscle injury.
Coach Rudi Garcia could start influential midfielder Luiz Gustavo in central defence, with centre-back Rolando struggling for full fitness.
Authorities in Lyon are hoping the match, which will kick off at 8:45pm (1845 GMT), will not be marred by violence.
Those Marseille fans without tickets were urged not to travel amid fears of trouble between them and fans of Lyon. A big rivalry has developed in recent years between the two clubs, and there will be 1,250 police officers deployed in the city and around the stadium.
4th July 2018
3rd July 2018
1st July 2018
NAN The Kaduna State Environmental Protection Authority (KEPA) has alerted residents of the state to the dangerous chemicals emitting from raging fire incident into the environment. Mr Yusuf Rigasa, the KEPA General Manager, raised the alarm on Wednesday in Kaduna. Rigasa said, “There is fire incident at a chemical dump location at No. 9 Rafi…
— 4th July 2018
NAN Dr Amos Ujulu, Director of Disease Control Department (DCD), Adamawa State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ASPHCDA), says the state has recorded 1,564 cases of cholera this year. Ujulu disclosed this during his presentation on the recent outbreak of cholera to the State Executive Council Meeting in Yola. He said that over 100 communities…
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Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has revealed that pressure was mounted on him by chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to trade away the ticket given to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Prof. Kolapo Olusola and support Dr. Kayode Fayemi of the APC in the July 14 governorship poll in the state….
— 4th July 2018
Clement Adeyi, Osogbo The Federal High Court, sitting in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, has ordered the National Assembly to begin impeachment process against President Muhammadu Buhari. Justice Maurine Onyetenu gave the order, on Wednesday, based on the suit filed by two Nigerians, Kanmi Ajibola, a lawyer and Sulaiman Adeniyi, a rights activist. The duo…
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Desmond Mgboh, Kano Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State has said that President Muhammad Buhari represents the way forward for a prosperous Nigeria, insisting that the President has a greater love for Nigeria than he has for himself. He maintained that President Buhari embodies honesty, integrity, transparency, accountability and utmost patriotism for genuine national…
Entertainment— 3rd July 2018
Tosin Ajirire As Afrobeat king, Femi Anikulapo-Kuti is getting ready to host President Emmanuel Macron tonight at the Afrika Shrine, Ikeja, Lagos, he has exclusively opened up to The Daily Sun on what he would tell the French leader and the kind of songs he would play. You have the French President, Emmanuel Macron visiting…
South-West Report— 3rd July 2018
Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji Aje Ogungunniso I, and Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Jimoh Oyewumi Ajagungbade III, were absent, yesterday, as Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, presented 36 vehicles to 36 royal fathers across the state. The cars were presented to the monarchs at the Governor’s Office, beside parliament building, Secretariat, Ibadan. The programme…
Abuja Metro— 4th July 2018
Samuel Bello, Abuja Mrs. Betty Ibi had a heart break last week. It was not about her husband or any of her family members. She had gone to Utako Market, Abuja, with her two expatriate friends to purchase fruits and goat meat. She had wanted to go to the market alone but her friends, desirous…
Oriental News— 4th July 2018
Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha Disturbed by the suffering and harsh treatment being meted out to widows, wife of the Bishop on the Niger, Dr. Elsie Nonyelum Nwokolo has taken up the campaign for the abolition of obnoxious widowhood practices in parts of Igboland, beginning with Anambra State. To this end, she appealed to the traditional…
Features— 1st July 2018
Give graphic details of bloody attack from Jos hospital Henry Umahi and Gyang Bere Even a heart made of stone will melt at the sight of victims of last weekend’s bloody attack by Fulani herdsmen on 11 communities across three local government areas of Plateau State. At the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), where scores…
Literary Review— 23rd June 2018
Damiete Braide Jacqueline Agweh’s schedule is tight as a working class mother, but she remains dauntless in following her passion of creative writing. So far, she has these books to her credit: The Brown Family, A Place for Every Girl (2012), The Colour of My Tears (2014), and A Pelican of the Wilderness (2014). She…
Lifeline— 4th July 2018
Nkiru Odinkemelu Three-year-old Wilfred Chisimdiri Ugoh has been in agony since his first day on earth. The boy suffers from a congenital heart disease. To correct this and forestall irreversible and life-threatening complications, he needs N10 million for an open heart surgery in an Indian hospital. A sight of him immediately tells you that all…
Education Review— 1st July 2018
Worried by the increasing spate of immoral behaviour among students, the University Women Association (UWA), University of Nigeria, Nsukka recently organised a sensitization workshop to educate students on expected good moral conducts in the university. In his remarks at the workshop, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof Benjamin Ozumba urged students to spend their…
TSWeekend— 29th June 2018
After a successful run in Lagos, the critically acclaimed musical, Fela and the Kalakuta Queens, opened in Abuja on Friday June 8, 2018, courtesy of the MTN Foundation and Bolanle Austen-Peters Production (BAP). Fela and The Kalakuta Queens is a demonstration of the rich cultural heritage that Nigeria is blessed with. The play, which tells…
Opinion— 4th July 2018
Law Mefor “The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Six years ago, the Och’Idoma, Agabaidu Elias Ikoyi Obekpa, and the Idoma kingdom rolled out the drums to honour Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan,…
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Humphrey C. Nsofor The people of Ebonyi and Anambra states have always enjoyed a wonderful relationship. It could not have been better. The media war, which the government of Engineer Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State launched against Anambra State over the renaming of the hitherto obscure Abakaliki Street in Awka is gratuitous and serves no…
When news broke last week of the massacre of more than 150 women, children, and men in remote communities of Plateau State, everyone turned their attention to president Muhammadu Buhari for his explanation of how the mass murder of citizens on such a scale could take place in a country that is not at war….
Everybody run run run Eh-ya! Everybody scatter scatter Eh-ya! Some people lost some bread Eh-ya! Someone nearly die Eh-ya! Someone just die Eh-ya! Police they come, army they come Eh-ya! Confusion everywhere Eh-ya! Seven minutes later All don cool down, brother Police don go away Army don disappear Them leave sorrow, tears and blood Them…
Nigeria is at war with itself. Like chickens, Nigerians face the knife everyday. As a young adult, never in my life have I been this scared. The closest I have had was in 1993-1994, when the election of Moshood Abiola was annulled. Today, Nigerians are poorer, more wretched, frustrated and now harbour suicidal thoughts. This…
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