The Madrid derby is this Sunday, September 18th, and with both teams off to good starts in the league, it promises to be a blistering encounter. Atletico fans will probably be pinning their hopes on club legend Antoine Griezmann (31) popping up with a late winner against their more fancied cross-town rivals. At least, based on what we’ve seen this season, it seems likely that he won’t be starting and scoring early in the match.
In LaLiga this season Griezmann has been substituted on for Atletico in the 62nd, 62nd, 64th, 63rd and 63rd minutes of their opening five league fixtures. In the Champions League, he has been substituted on in the 61st and 62nd minutes.

A curious record indeed.

After re-signing on loan from Barcelona in 2021, a clause in Griezmann’s contract stipulated that Atletico would have to sign him permanently and pay the Catalan club a fee if he met certain performance-related goals.

The clause states that should Griezmann play 50% of the minutes he is available for, then Atletico will be forced to spend €40million to purchase him on a permanent basis.

However, there seems to be some confusion about which games exactly count towards that clause being triggered.

Reports suggest that Barca believe the fact that Griezmann played over 45 minutes in 30 of the 37 games he was available for last season means Atletico are now obliged to sign him.

Atletico, meanwhile, claim Griezmann must play over 45 minutes in 50% of the games he is available for over two seasons (this season and last) for the clause to take effect. Hence why Diego Simeone (52) has been unwilling to use him for more than half an hour in each game this season.

Financially stricken Barca, obviously, want the fee and are not keen on taking Griezmann back as his salary of over €20million would take up a large chunk of their LaLiga spending limit.

Atletico, meanwhile, might be hesitant to spend such money on a player turning 32 despite the positive impact he’s had this season and last and the fact that he cemented legendary status at the club by playing his 300th game for them in Tuesday’s loss to Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League.