Ecstatic Simeone urges final hero Griezmann to stay

‘We can be proud’ says Unai Emery after Arsenal reach Europa League last eight

Diego Simeone lauded striker Antoine Griezmann after his brace helped Atletico Madrid to a 3-0 win over Olympique Marseille in the Europa League final on Wednesday, adding that he hoped the striker will stay at the club.

Griezmann was in superb form against Marseille, bagging his 28th and 29th goals of the season with a strike in each half as Atleti sealed a third Europa League title in eight years.

“Griezmann today confirmed what he has been doing year by year. He was decisive in the most important moment in the game,” Simeone told reporters after the win.

“I hope that he is happy to play for us. He’s played three finals with us and won two. Now we are in the UEFA Super Cup, so he could play four finals with us. So on a sporting level we aren’t so far from the clubs that have more power than us.”

The 27-year old has been the subject of increasing transfer speculation in the last few months, with Barcelona reported to be ready to meet his 100 million euro buy-out clause.

Asked about the speculation, Simeone said that he would respect the striker’s decision.

“It’s a decision that he will have to come to. Whatever he decides I’ll be happy because he has given us his life,” Simeone added.

“If he stays I’ll be delighted and if he leaves I’ll be grateful for everything he’s done for us.

“He’s given us a lot, he gave us a leap in quality as a team. If he stays we’ll keep growing because we are destined to keep growing.”

Man of the match Griezmann, meanwhile, refused to discuss what lay ahead.

“I think now is not the moment to talk about my future, I just want to enjoy myself after my performance, after winning a trophy and I want to celebrate with the fans,” Griezmann said.

“Simeone has taught me a lot, he made me become a better player and I hope I can keep improving every year, in every game. I owe a lot to Simeone and my team mates.”

Griezmann, who missed a penalty as Atleti lost to rivals Real Madrid in the 2016 Champions League final, said that disappointment in Milan had inspired him to give his all.

“It was a dream of mine to win a trophy with Atleti, with Simeone and with my team mates,” Griezmann added.

“It wasn’t meant to be in the Champions League, but I said to myself that tonight was going to be night and so it was.”