Simeone sternly rejects Griezmann to Barca speculation

Diego Simeone was quick to shut down any more talk of Antoine Griezmann joining Barcelona ahead of Atletico Madrid hosting Espanyol.

The LaLiga champions have long been linked with a big-money swoop for France forward Griezmann and Atleti reported Barca to FIFA over an alleged illegal approach for the 27-year-old last December.

In an interview with Uruguayan station Radio Rincon his week, Luis Suarez seemingly confirmed Griezmann would follow Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho in becoming another big-money arrival at Camp Nou.

"It makes the club proud to bring players of this quality like Antoine, like when Dembele and Coutinho came," he said.

At a pre-match news conference, Simeone made it clear he was in no mood to discuss the specifics of the matter.

Asked about Griezmann's future in light of Suarez's comments, the Atleti boss sternly and simply replied: "Espanyol."

Following further encouragement, he expanded to discuss the future of his squad in general terms and stated losing key men such as Griezmann was not on the preferred agenda.

"We're not thinking about individual situations," he said. "We're working in order to make sure the important players stay so they can help the club keep growing.

"All our decisions are for the best of the squad, of this team and this club."

Simeone observed his Europa League finalists represent an attractive prospect for numerous top-class players.

"It's obvious that if we achieve important things and win trophies there are important players who will want to join us," he said.

"And that's really important for the future of this club and its growth year after year in the last six years."

Simeone learned on Friday that he will be banned from the touchline in the Europa League final in Lyon against Marseille after being dismissed during the first leg of the semi-final win over Arsenal.

The Argentinian used his ban to discuss an entirely different section of the UEFA rulebook - namely the vagaries of the away goals rule - following a narrow 2-1 aggregate triumph in midweek.

"Well I'm not in a position where I can speak about [the ban], I just want to improve in some aspects," he added.

"I also want to ask UEFA to think about the fact that he team that plays away in the return leg have 30 minutes' advantage to score a goal that has double value in extra-time.

"I've been saying these since four years ago. They're smart and they will think about this to help us make this fair."

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