Annoyed to let the media, observers and fans talk about his complicated situation with his team mates, since his arrival at FC Barcelona, Antoine Griezmann decided to come out and talk straight about this complicated situation.
It will soon be a year and a half that Antoine Griezmann is only a shadow of his former self at FC Barcelona. In spite of a €120m transfer, widely commented on, a World Champion status, an association that showed great promise with Lionel Messi, the Frenchman is not succeeding. His 17 goals and 5 assists in 58 matches in all competitions combined in the shirt of the culés appear to be very meagre compared to his performance at Atlético de Madrid, where he was quite simply his team’s star player. Until then, he had let his entourage, his club or even Didier Deschamps express himself on his situation, which suited no one, or even on his future in Catalonia.
This time, after a 1-0 defeat for Barça at the Colchoneros this weekend, where he once again appeared borrowed, the 29-year-old striker decided to appear before the microphones of the Movistar channel in Spain. “I didn’t want to talk, except on the pitch. But I think it’s time to put things in their place. I’ve put up with things and comments for a long time and that’s enough,” he warns, before going back to his false arrival in 2018 and his definitive transfer a year later. “Léo told me that he was disappointed that I didn’t come in 2018 because he had also made public comments. Then he explained that he was happy to see me in Barcelona. (…) He told me that he was “to death” with me.”
Griezmann has no problem with anyone at Barça
The 29-year-old admits that he has not been at his best since his transfer. After 5 years with the same club for the team, he finds his adaptation complicated by the health crisis and the coaches’ waltz (3 since his arrival). “Valverde asked me to play on the left and to go into space, sometimes to take the inside, to free up the space and the corridor for Jordi Alba. He is the one who gave me the opportunity to come here. I have a lot of respect for him. I felt his confidence. With Setién, I learnt in the exits. We had a normal relationship,” recalls the Frenchman, brushing aside rumours of a scrap after a 2-2 draw against Atletico last June, in which he came on at the very end of the match.
It was time to talk about Lionel Messi, the man who makes it rain and shine at Barça, and ask for a truce on the part of the media and Blaugrana fans. “I told Leo that I would talk (to the press), even if I don’t like it, to clarify things. I need a little help from everyone, from the fans, from the club. The help of my teammates, I already have it. The fans and the media are more difficult. In the dressing room, everything is great. Let them leave me alone, we are working. With the coach (Koeman), we are confident. It never stops. When I don’t talk, they ask me to talk. There’s always something to comment on. They never leave me alone. If something goes wrong, like with Leo, it’s that I want to leave, or that they’re going to sell me in January. Every morning there is something” he laments, promising happier days for him and the club.
“I’m just asking you to leave me alone for a while.”
“It’s been difficult for the last two years. But there are a lot of games to play and I think we have the level to win important things. We have to react and it is my turn to show that I am ready to play for this club. I am doing very well here in Barcelona. The players have welcomed me very well. I want to help the team. They trusted me to sign and now I want to return that trust by helping the team to win. There are no problems with anyone. I’m really well and I’m just asking you to leave me a little bit at peace” concludes Griezmann with a big smile as if relieved to have finished this long interview of almost an hour. For those who are under contract until 2024, it is now a matter of showing their good will on the pitch and getting the Barça out of the Liga (13th).