Atletico Madrid 'Fed Up With' Barcelona over Antoine Griezmann Rumours

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMay 8, 2018

Atletico's Antoine Griezmann celebrates after scoring the first goal of his team during the Europa League semifinal first leg soccer match between Arsenal FC and Atletico Madrid at Emirates Stadium in London, Thursday, April 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Atletico Madrid chief executive officer Miguel Angel Gil Marin has demanded respect from La Liga rivals Barcelona over the club's pursuit of Antoine Griezmann.

In a statement on Atletico's official website, Gil said:

"We're fed up with Barcelona's attitude. That a president, player and a board member speak the way they've done about the future of a player with an existing contract and just a few days before disputing a European final, is an absolute lack of respect towards Atlético Madrid and its fans."

Gil Marin reaffirmed Atletico's stance not to sell Griezmann, while warning Barca his club would expect restitution if the player has his head turned:

"Atletico de Madrid's stance is very clear and has been made public on numerous occasions. Not once have we negotiated for Griezmann nor do we have any intention to do so. A few months ago, I personally expressed to Barcelona's president that our player isn't for sale nor are we going to sell him.

"At the same time, I let him know that his inappropriate conduct was against the integrity of the competition, especially since we've been competing for the league title throughout the season and Barcelona have been continuously pressuring one of the most relevant players from our squad.

"I also told him in that moment, that in the chance the player exercised his right to nullify his contract due to their pressure throughout the season that Atletico de Madrid would demand Barcelona compensation for their inappropriate behaviour."

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Barca have made no secret of their interest in Griezmann.
Barca have made no secret of their interest in Griezmann.Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Marin's reference to a conversation with Barca's president comes after Josep Maria Bartomeu recently told RAC1 (h/t BBC Sport) he met with Griezmann's agent last October, while also discussing the situation with Atletico president Enrique Cerezo.

Bartomeu hasn't been the only member of Barcelona content to talk up a pursuit of Griezmann. Prolific striker Luis Suarez recently told Radio Uruguay (h/t ESPN.co.uk) the France international would be "welcome" at the Camp Nou.

Barca manager Ernesto Valverde attempted to urge caution and respect when discussing Griezmann but twice called him "a great player," per Aaron Stokes of the Daily Express.

The warning from Marin is one Bartomeu, Suarez, Valverde and Co. should heed since Atleti have previously reported the Camp Nou club to FIFA. A complaint was made back in December when Los Rojiblancos alleged to world football's governing body representatives of Barcelona had been speaking to Griezmann's family, per Simon Stoneof BBC Sport.

Suarez has publicly talked up the idea of Griezmann moving to the Camp Nou.
Suarez has publicly talked up the idea of Griezmann moving to the Camp Nou.Soccrates Images/Getty Images

In January, Barca released a statement on the club's official website denying an agreement had already been reached to sign Atletico's attacking talisman.

However, Helena Condis of Cadena Cope (h/t Cope, via Sports Illustrated's 90Min) reported on Tuesday how Barcelona have informed Atletico of their intention to pay the €100 million (£88 million) release clause needed to sign Griezmann this summer.

Yet it seems as though Atleti will drive a hard bargain for their star turn, particularly if they feel the ongoing rumours distract Griezmann ahead of the UEFA Europa League final against Marseille in Lyon on May 16.