Champions League

All eyes on Antoine Griezmann in Atletico Madrid’s must-win match against Chelsea

The stage is also set for the Frenchman to showcase his talents to a host of Premier League suitors.

As a red-hot Antoine Griezmann hopes to keep Atletico Madrid’s faint Champions League hopes alive at Stamford Bridge, the stage is also set for the Frenchman to showcase his talents to a host of Premier League suitors.

Atletico need to beat Chelsea in London on Tuesday and hope Roma don’t beat Champions League debutants Qarabag in the Italian capital if they are to make the last 16 for a fifth consecutive season.

The financial blow an early exit would bring to Atletico, who moved into the new 310 million euro ($369 million) Wanda Metropolitano stadium earlier this season, could precipitate Griezmann’s departure from the Spanish capital.

But for his loyalty to Atletico and in particular coach Diego Simeone, Griezmann could have already been out the door last summer.

A number of sides, led by Manchester United, seemed willing to meet his 100 million euro buyout clause, but when Atletico’s appeal against a transfer ban was rejected in June Griezmann agreed to stay on.

Griezmann admitted at the time it would have been “dirty” to walk out on Atletico when they couldn’t replace him since it is they who propelled him into the European football elite after signing him from Real Sociedad in 2014.

That loyalty hasn’t been wholly rewarded however, with many Atletico fans unhappy at Griezmann’s frequent flirting with other sides, including La Liga rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona, often via the French press.

“For months now my name has come out linked with Manchester United,” Griezmann wrote in his newly-released autobiography ‘Behind the Smile’.

“The English press said they were willing to pay €100 million, which is my release clause.

“I was not going to waste time denying it. No matter how much I repeat that I am delighted at Atletico, that I have a great coach and great teammates, they ask me regularly about my future.

“At Real Sociedad I realised I had reached a moment where I had to move to keep progressing, that has not happened at Atletico Madrid. Although, again, I rule nothing out.”

Part of the family

The backlash to Griezmann’s public comments peaked when he was jeered off as he was substituted during a goalless Madrid derby two weeks ago.

At the time Griezmann was on a barren run of eight games without a goal and, with no one else offering reliable back-up, Atletico’s Champions League campaign stalled with defeat to Chelsea and back-to-back draws with Azerbaijanis Qarabag.

“I am with him to the death,” insisted Simeone back then before adding “as long as he is in my family”.

All has been forgiven, if not forgotten, in the past 10 days as a stunning acrobatic opener in a 2-0 win over Roma got Griezmann back among the goals and Atletico winning again.

Having won just two and scored seven goals in their previous 10 matches, Atletico have won four in a row, netting an average of three goals a game.

After Griezmann’s fourth in three games with a late winner against his former side Sociedad on Saturday, he was grappled in a bear hug by Simeone that showed his was fully back in the fold.

One of the best nights in Simeone’s glorious six years at the helm in Madrid came at Stamford Bridge in 2014, when he outwitted Jose Mourinho in a 3-1 win that took his side to the first of their two recent Champions League finals.

Should they fail to replicate that performance against Conte’s men on Tuesday and not get a helping hand from Qarabag it could be the beginning of a long goodbye for star man Griezmann.

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Changing the conversation around mental health in rural India

Insights that emerged from discussions around mental health at a village this World Mental Health Day.

Questioning is the art of learning. For an illness as debilitating as depression, asking the right questions is an important step in social acceptance and understanding. How do I open-up about my depression to my parents? Can meditation be counted as a treatment for depression? Should heartbreak be considered as a trigger for deep depression? These were some of the questions addressed by a panel consisting of the trustees and the founder of The Live Love Lough Foundation (TLLLF), a platform that seeks to champion the cause of mental health. The panel discussion was a part of an event organised by TLLLF to commemorate World Mental Health Day.

According to a National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), common mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders affect nearly 10% of the population, with 1 in 20 people in India suffering from depression. The survey reported a huge treatment gap, a problem that is spread far and wide across urban and rural parts of the country.

On 10th of October, trustees of the foundation, Anna Chandy, Dr. Shyam Bhat and Nina Nair, along with its founder, Deepika Padukone, made a visit to a community health project centre in Devangere, Karnataka. The project, started by The Association of People with Disability (APD) in 2010, got a much-needed boost after partnering with TLLLF 2 years ago, helping them reach 819 people suffering from mental illnesses and spreading its program to 6 Taluks, making a difference at a larger scale.

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During the visit, the TLLLF team met patients and their families to gain insights into the program’s effectiveness and impact. Basavaraja, a beneficiary of the program, spoke about the issues he faced because of his illness. He shared how people used to call him mad and would threaten to beat him up. Other patients expressed their difficulty in getting access to medical aid for which they had to travel to the next biggest city, Shivmoga which is about 2 hours away from Davangere. A marked difference from when TLLLF joined the project two years ago was the level of openness and awareness present amongst the villagers. Individuals and families were more expressive about their issues and challenges leading to a more evolved and helpful conversation.

The process of de-stigmatizing mental illnesses in a community and providing treatment to those who are suffering requires a strong nexus of partners to make progress in a holistic manner. Initially, getting different stakeholders together was difficult because of the lack of awareness and resources in the field of mental healthcare. But the project found its footing once it established a network of support from NIMHANS doctors who treated the patients at health camps, Primary Healthcare Centre doctors and the ASHA workers. On their visit, the TLLLF team along with APD and the project partners discussed the impact that was made by the program. Were beneficiaries able to access the free psychiatric drugs? Did the program help in reducing the distance patients had to travel to get treatment? During these discussions, the TLLLF team observed that even amongst the partners, there was an increased sense of support and responsiveness towards mental health aid.

The next leg of the visit took the TLLLF team to the village of Bilichodu where they met a support group that included 15 patients and caregivers. Ujjala Padukone, Deepika Padukone’s mother, being a caregiver herself, was also present in the discussion to share her experiences with the group and encouraged others to share their stories and concerns about their family members. While the discussion revolved around the importance of opening up and seeking help, the team brought about a forward-looking attitude within the group by discussing future possibilities in employment and livelihood options available for the patients.

As the TLLLF team honoured World Mental Health day, 2017 by visiting families, engaging with support groups and reviewing the successes and the challenges in rural mental healthcare, they noticed how the conversation, that was once difficult to start, now had characteristics of support, openness and a positive outlook towards the future. To continue this momentum, the organisation charted out the next steps that will further enrich the dialogue surrounding mental health, in both urban and rural areas. The steps include increasing research on mental health, enhancing the role of social media to drive awareness and decrease stigma and expanding their current programs. To know more, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of The Live Love Laugh Foundation and not by the Scroll editorial team.