Atletico Madrid and Barcelona have officially closed the deal for the permanent transfer of Antoine Griezmann, reports SPORT.
The 31-year-old will now officially be an Atletico Madrid player moving forward, with the two clubs shaking hands on a deal worth €20 million plus another €4 million in variables.
Griezmann returned to Atletico Madrid in 2021, two years after leaving the club for Barcelona in a massive deal worth €120 million. The Frenchman, however, never got going in Catalonia and had to face a lot of criticism from fans and pundits over his underwhelming displays.
After failing to make the desired impact, Griezmann returned to Atleti last year, signing on a loan deal with a permanent purchase obligation for €40 million.
The 31-year-old did not have the most productive season last time out but has often been one of the positives for Atletico this time out, even though his game-time has been severely restricted as the Rojiblancos sought to avoid activating the €40 million buy clause.
While they were reluctant to pay that sum, there were never doubts about the fact that Diego Simeone wanted to keep Griezmann at the Civitas Metropolitano. And they have now managed to negotiate a lower fee with Barça for the transfer of the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner.
The Rojiblancos will pay a fixed fee of €20 million plus another €4 million in add-ons to acquire the services of Griezmann permanently. The Frenchman has once again agreed to a pay cut at Atletico and will be signing a contract until the summer of 2027.
With the move all done, Simeone will now be free to use Griezmann as much as he wants rather than calling him on in matches only after the hour mark.
The forward has scored three goals and set up one more in ten matches in all competitions this season. With the transfer saga now behind, Griezmann will be hoping to play regularly and build up some form and rhythm ahead of the World Cup.
Atletico Madrid midfielder on the derby against Real Madrid: “Very difficult to beat them”
Following a 1-1 draw in their Champions League opener against Lazio, Atletico Madrid will shift all their attention to La Liga, as they brace themselves for the derby against Real Madrid this weekend.
Heading into this game, Atleti midfielder Marcos Llorente spoke about Real Madrid’s quality and Atletico Madrid’s chances of squeezing all three points from this iconic derby.
Llorente on Madrid derby
“The sensations are good. The team is very good, the other day we played a great game despite ending up drawing. I really think that the team did a great job that must be maintained for this match,” Llorente said in an interview with Diario AS.
When asked whether or not Real Madrid being tagged as favourites could aid Atleti, the midfielder said, “Honestly, it neither motivates me nor demotivates me. We simply have to do what we work on during the week, what the coach asks of us.”
Llorente stressed the importance of the game, adding, “It is a great rival we have in front of us, they are having a very good start to the season and that motivates me and everyone to try to play a good game.”
“Real Madrid is a great club, they have great players and it is very difficult to beat them. I think we have competed, we have also achieved several draws, but in the end, either you go out one hundred percent and do things very, very well or it is difficult to beat them,” he added.
A former member of the Real Madrid youth academy, Llorente joined Atletico Madrid in 2019. Since then, he has racked up over 150 competitive appearances for Los Colchoneros.
Llorente, though, said he feels no sense of vindication when he performs well against his former team.
“No. In the end, it’s been many years since I left there and I’m at Atlético. Perhaps in the first years, those types of feelings and sensations can arise, but today they no longer do,” he said.
Llorente on Vinicius, Koke & Bellingham
The Atletico Madrid star went on to talk about other aspects of the game, including the fact that his team had one less player every time they faced Real Madrid last season.
“I have zero worries. These are things that are not in our remit, that escape our hands. We play football, the referees referee and those who have to decide decide,” he said.
Llorente, in fact, said that the return of Koke could be a real boost for Atleti. “It is always good that Koke is with us, both on the field and in the day-to-day life of the game,” he said.
“Beyond the grass. The support he gives, the advice he gives us, his experience. it is always important to have him and it is great news that he is already training with us,” he added.
Talking about the absence of Vinicius Junior and the form of Jude Bellingham, Llorente said, “Well, you have to be careful with everyone. All Real Madrid players are very good and can make a difference at any moment of the game. Bellingham is having a great start and we have to take that into account and be very focused.”
Finally, Marcos Llorente put out a message for all the Atletico Madrid fans, claiming their support ahead of this crucial encounter this weekend.
“It will be a full house as always. We don’t have to tell them anything, they know the importance of this match for Atlético, we know that they never fail, they are always supporting us and we count on them,” he said.