Diego Costa: Antoine Griezmann's Decision to Leave Atletico Madrid 'Was Normal'

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistSeptember 10, 2019

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 27:  Antoine Griezmann (R) of Club Atletico de Madrid warms up with Diego Costa (L) before to the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Real Sociedad at Wanda Metropolitano on October 27, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Diego Costa thinks Antoine Griezmann's decision to leave Atletico Madrid and join Barcelona this summer "was normal."

Costa has revealed he didn't attempt to talk Griezmann out of joining Atleti's rivals in La Liga. In fact, Costa has said he would have told his now former team-mate it would be OK to seek a new challenge.

Atletico striker Costa spoke to YouTube channel Que Partidazo (h/t MailOnline's Kieran Jackson): "Griezmann wanted a new experience, and he'll find that in Barcelona. I didn't try to convince him to stay, but if he had asked my opinion, I would have told him that everybody should try new things."

Fans of Atleti may not appreciate Costa saying he would have prompted Griezmann to pursue pastures new, but he described moving to the Camp Nou to play alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez as the Frecnhman's "dream."     

Even though the Griezmann's move strengthened Los Rojiblancos' familiar foe, Costa does not believe the former Real Sociedad forward deserves any animosity from the Madrid club: "Greizmann's decision was normal. He has always been an upfront person. He never missed a training session; he always led by example ... We can't say anything bad about him. We are grateful to him."

Atleti softened the blow of losing attacking talisman Griezmann by using the €120 million fetched by his sale to sign Joao Felix. The 19-year-old cost Atleti the same fee but has already been making his mark since arriving from Benfica.

He's scored and provided an assist in league action, with the goal coming against Eibar earlier this month courtesy of an assist by Costa:

Manager Diego Simeone's squad needs this combination to click if they are going to outshine Barca and Real Madrid in the Spanish top flight. Reigning champions Barcelona have made a slow start, taking just four points from three matches while Messi and Suarez have been injured.

However, Griezmann has not disappointed, opening his account with a brace during a 5-2 home win against Real Betis last month:

Costa has likely been pleased Griezmann's move appears to be working out. His best wishes for his ex-strike partner are in sharp contrast to the often fractured relations between Barca and Atletico in the buildup to the transfer.

Atleti accused Barcelona of encouraging Griezmann to seek a move. Griezmann was left saddened by Atletico's response.

While feelings between the two clubs may not have thawed, Griezmann has at least started a new chapter in his club career with the blessing of one of the key players he left behind.

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