Antoine Griezmann Calls Atletico Madrid Response to Barcelona Transfer 'A Pity'

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 14, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JULY 14: New Barcelona signing Antoine Griezmann poses for the media as he is unveiled at Camp Nou stadium on July 14, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Atletico Madrid have been told to "accept" Antoine Griezmann's transfer to Barcelona as the two rivals continue to dispute the fee paid.

Griezmann has summed up his old club's response to his €120 million move to the Camp Nou, per BBC Sport: "We reached an agreement but finally it changed, it's like that, you have to accept it. Regarding Atletico, it's a pity. I went to see them on purpose so they would not be caught off guard and could prepare for the future."

The 28-year-old was referring to Atleti challenging the release clause Barca met before the transfer was made official on Friday. Atletico believe Griezmann and the Blaugrana agreed to a deal when the prolific forward still had a release fee worth €200 million, according to the Guardian.

Griezmann's words on the subject echo those of his lawyer, Sevan Karian. He told L'Equipe (h/t The Independent's Jack Rathborn) how "Antoine is very disappointed with the attitude shown by Atletico and the club's hierarchy."

It's understandable for Griezmann to bemoan how quickly his departure from the Spanish capital has turned bitter. After all, it's creating a sad footnote to what was a fruitful chapter in his career after he joined from Real Sociedad in 2014.

Links with Barca persisted throughout his five seasons in Diego Simeone's team, and Griezmann was tipped to make the switch in the summer of 2018. He eventually announced his decision to stay put during a television special dubbed "The Decision."

Griezmann said he doesn't regret the way he made the announcement when speaking at his first press conference as a Barcelona player on Sunday, per ESPN FC's Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens: "If I have to apologise, I will do so on the pitch. That's where I do my best talking."

Griezmann's promise to let his performances speak for him should sound an ominous warning, not only for Barca's rivals in La Liga but also for those with ambitions of winning the Champions League.

There aren't may forwards in the game who combine pace with timing and cool finishing as effectively as the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner. He immediately upgrades Barcelona's attack, even though the forward line is already home to Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi.

The last time Messi and Suarez combined with a forward this talented was during Neymar's Barcelona tenure. In 2014/15 campaign, the dynamic trio helped the Blaugrana win La Liga, the Copa del Rey and Champions League.

Griezmann is already relishing working with Messi:

The latter has remained Barca's attacking talisman even while Ousmane Dembele and Malcom have struggled to replace Neymar. Griezmann will be a more consistent performer, and his arrival should quell rumours of Neymar's return, with the Brazilian said to be "desperate to leave PSG," per Joaquim Piera of Sport.

With Griezmann on board, Barcelona can stay ahead of Atletico domestically and also be strong enough in attack to go one better in Europe after losing to Liverpool in last season's Champions League semi-final.

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