Barcelona have officially signed Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid in a move that has been two years in the making.
Barcelona Pay Griezmann’s Release Clause
In the end Atletico Madrid made Barcelona pay 120 million Euros ($135 USD) for Antoine Griezmann’s services. The price might have been lower had they been able to negotiate but Atletico was having none of it. Atletico were very angry about the way this situation played itself out and they let it be known that they felt disrespected. The new contract Griezmann signed with Barcelona is for five years and they have inserted a buyout clause of 800 million euros which means he should be at the club until 2024. With Griezmann alongside Messi, Barcelona now have two of the world’s most creative players which will be an absolute nightmare for defenders across Europe.
It will be interesting to see how he fits into the Barcelona team but he has already proven himself in Spanish football so the adaptation period should be quick. In 2005, Griezmann left France as a 14-year-old and moved to San Sebastian where he joined Real Sociedad’s youth system. He has spent almost half of his life living in Spain and has been playing first team football there since he made his debut for Sociedad as an 18-year-old.
He went on to score 46 goals in 180 and appearances. In July of 2014, Atletico Madrid paid approximately 30 million Euros ($33.7 million USD) to bring him to the Spanish capital. That move would see Griezmann take his game to another level.
Altetico Are Upset but They Saw This Coming
Although the relationship ended badly, Antoine Griezmann is one of the best players in the history of the club. He is 5th all time in goals scored and of the four players ahead of him, the only one that is still alive today is 74 years old. That means to current Atletico fans, he is the best player they’ve had (Fernando Torres is more beloved but spent the prime of his career in England). During his time at the club, he led them to two Champion’s League finals and won the Europa League. While most players would see that as a very successful spell, it’s easy to see why a player of Griezmann’s talent would be left disappointed. Let’s not forget that during that time, he helped lead his national team to a European Cup final and also won the World Cup. In this regard he has the opposite problem that his new teammate Lionel Messi does. We’ve seen how difficult it has been for Messi at the international level. Even though he made it to two Copa America finals and a World Cup final, he didn’t win. The frustration led him to briefly retire from international football. When you play at Barcelona, you become accustomed to success. That’s exactly why Griezmann felt he had to leave Atletico.
Last season when he made his version of “The Decision”, many around Europe, especially those at FC Barcelona felt like it was in poor taste. He had led the club to believe that he would be signing with them only to change his mind at the 11th hour to stay in Madrid. To add insult to injury, the documentary was produced by a company that is owned by Gerard Pique of Barcelona.
At the end of this past season, he posted this much shorter video explaining to Atletico fans that is leaving:
Although it’s in Spanish, the caption in English below the video is basically all you need to know. The rest of it, even if you can’t understand the language, is him trying to justify his decision. One look at his demeanor and you can tell he seems nervous/uncomfortable because he knows that the reaction will mostly be negative.
None of that matters anymore now that he is a Barcelona player. He will be extremely disappointed if he is jeered when Barcelona travel to Atletico on December 1st. If that happens, he’ll get over it because he knows his new club wins the biggest trophies which what is missing from his already impressive resume.