Griezmann: coronavirus break in football has allowed me to rest

FC Barcelona striker Antoine Griezmann could be one of the few professional footballers who has welcomed the three-month lay-off in La Liga because of the coronavirus Covid-19.

The French international and his team-mates return to action in Mallorca on Saturday night as Barca look to defend a two-point lead at the top of the table, but while some players have expressed doubts about their lack of match-fitness following the break, Griezmann has a different viewpoint.

In declarations published in sports paper Diario AS, Griezmann said he has been able to enjoy “a physical and mental rest that I hadn’t had in the last five years.”

“I needed to rest,” confessed the 2018 World Cup winner, who nevertheless said he was “looking forward,” to playing again.

“It’s been a long time since we played a game,” commented Griezmann.

The former Atletico Madrid striker has scored eight goals in the league so far this season and said he wanted to “be an important player in the team, both on and off the pitch,” and he also looked ahead to Barca defending their lead.

“It is in our hands, we have to play 11 good games and we will be champions, but it is important to start well and we have worked really hard for the Mallorca game,” explained Griezmann.

The striker also discussed the fact that La Liga will return without fans in the stands due to the continued threat of the coronavirus: “It is strange to see, but the important thing is that football is back,” he concluded.