Barcelona signed Antoine Griezmann on Friday after paying their La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid the 120 million euro release clause demanded by the Madrid-base club for the procurement of the French forward.
“The player will sign a contract with his new club for the next five seasons, through to 30 June 2024, with a buyout clause of 800 million euros.” Barcelona said in an official statement in their website. Friday’s announcement has finally brought an end to a longstanding dispute between the two Spanish clubs and the footballer, who had long disclosed his desire to move to the Catalan club.
The ugly talks and blame games have been going on for quite some time now. The matter heated up further when Griezmann refused to turn up for Atletico’s pre-season gathering on Sunday. He had announced his decision to leave the Wanda Metropolitano in May. Last week Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu had claimed that the talks about the footballer were held between both the clubs, while there was no official confirmation from the other club. This saw Atletico accusing the Catalan giants of “lack of respect”.
Griezman was also further accused of downplaying the team’s spirit and eventually causing the dismal show of the club in this year’s UEFA Champions League. It has been revealed that the former Real Sociedad player had declared he would be leaving the club join to join Lionel Messi & Co. in March, just days before their Champions League round of 16-tie with Juventus. Atletico Madrid were heavily beaten by the Italian side in which Cristiano Ronaldo netted a hat-trick.
While the forward line of Barcelona look settled in the last season, the position of Griezmann has not yet been decided. “The Frenchman can play anywhere in the front three although his usual position is on the left wing. Griezmann is a very mobile player who can score and also create goals. He is also very quick on the counter-attack and dangerous with his shots from distance and from set pieces,” said Barcelona in their official statement.
Antoine Griezmann joined Atletico Madrid in 2014 and has scored 133 goals for the club in 257 appearances, helping the club to a victory in Europa League 2018. The French footballer won the Golden Boot in Euro 2016 where France were beaten closely in the final by Portugal.