It finally happened, Antoine Griezmann is a Barcelona player. After 18 months of speculation, public flirtation, legal drama, and a TV documentary a la Lebron James’ “The Decision” where Griezmann committed his future to Atlético Madrid, the Frenchman got his dream move to Catalunya.
“My father taught me as a child than trains do not only pass once. The time has come to accept the challenge of a new destination. At last, our paths unite. I will defend the Barcelona shirt with dedication and commitment. This is our moment. This is our path.”
That was Antoine Griezmann explaining him move to Barcelona in a characteristically artistic statement. After spending the last five seasons in the Spanish capital with Atléti, he now joins Barcelona after the club activated his €120m release clause on Friday.
Griezmann had already led Los Colchoneros to a Champions League final as well as a Europa League triumph in 2018 so when he announced his intentions to reject Barcelona and instead sign a new long-term contract with Atlético Madrid last summer, it seemed he was well on track to become an Atlético Madrid legend. Griezmann returned later that summer a World Cup Winner and many at the club hoped he would now help propel Atléti to new heights.
However, Griezmann quickly came to the realization that he made a mistake and promptly contacted Barcelona midway through the season to iron out a deal for the following summer. The Catalan giants agreed terms with Griezmann sometime around February, while his release clause sat a hefty €200m. Unwilling to pay that exorbitant sum, Barcelona waited until July, when a clause in his contract lowered that price to €120m, an action that greatly angered Atlético Madrid, as they expressed in an official club statement.
“The amount deposited is insufficient to pay his release clause because it is obvious that the agreement between the player and Barcelona was done before the aforementioned clause dropped from €200 million to €120 million.”
Although Atlético will likely sue Barcelona for the remaining €80m to which they believe they are entitled, prolonging what feels like a never-ending saga, one thing is now certain; Antoine Griezmann is officially an FC Barcelona player. Griezmann will join a world-class attack that boasts the talents of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez and if Barcelona’s plans to sign Neymar come to fruition as well, they will be well and truly unstoppable.