Antoine Griezmann has revealed that his initial decision to reject a move to Barcelona irked Lionel Messi given the Camp Nou captain had publicly asked for the Frenchman to sign for the club.
Since his 120 million euro move to Barcelona from Atletico Madrid, Griezmann has reportedly been at odds with captain Lionel Messi, which hasn’t helped his obvious struggles on the pitch for the Blaugrana.
Upon his arrival at the Camp Nou, Griezmann admitted the first thing he did was to speak with his new captain, who insisted he had asked for the Frenchman’s signature before his infamous ‘Decision’ documentary which saw him reject the chance to move to Barcelona.
“I spoke with Leo when I arrived,” Griezmann told Real Madrid great Jorge Valdano on the latest edition of Universo Valdano, “and he told me that when I turned down the first chance to go [to Barcelona], he was screwed because he had asked for it publicly. But he told me he was with me and I notice it every day.
“I wanted to show [in the Decision documentary] that deciding to go to one team or another is very complicated. People thought it was a game and that I laughed at the fans. I just wanted to show how a player does not know what to do and what to decide. Your wife, your parents, your children talk to you but in the end you decide.
“After the documentary my parents got angry with me because they didn’t understand what I did when filming the documentary. Besides, they wanted to see me at Barcelona.”
Criticism has come Griezmann’s way since he joined Barcelona, as he hasn’t yet emulated the form shown under Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid.
“I accept it because I know that we are not seeing the best Griezmann,” the Frenchman said, “but I understand that every time something else comes out I am the first one to be [criticised].
“In a year and a half, I have had three coaches [at Barcelona]. That’s not easy. I need time to adapt to my colleagues and they to me. And on top of that there are formation changes.
“In addition, the candidates for the presidency also talk about me. I don’t think it’s the best thing for me when they talk about whether I’m a good signing or not.”
Griezmann’s best spell in his career came at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano where he won the Europa League in 2018, as well as the UEFA Super Cup, though was a losing finalist in the 2016 Champions League final.
“It was hard for me at the beginning,” Griezmann explained. “I came to a club that had just won LaLiga Santander and I had to win my place based on work.
“In fact, it was difficult for me to play until December. I was always available to the coach, I learned that way and it will always be like that. I will always do what the coach asks of me, even if I know that on a personal level what he is asking me hurts me.
“With Cholo, every training session was like a match an the intensity level. Everyone was asking me for more: Koke, Gabi, profe [Oscar] Ortega. At Atleti everyone ran and everyone moved everywhere, and I continue to do so. The dressing room was very solid. We would meet to eat when we lost there would be no bad blood.”
With Griezmann’s former advisor and agent Eric Olhats, along with his uncle Emmanuel Lopes, both making statements regarding his relationship with Messi, the French World Cup winner sought to clarify the situation.
“I stopped having any relationship with [my former agent Eric Olhats] from the day I got married,” Greizmann said. “I invited him to the wedding day, and he didn’t come. That’s why I stopped having any relationship with him.
“My uncle doesn’t know how football works. And in the end, the journalist ended up getting the statement out of him. I told Leo that I never speak to them, in fact I don’t even have my uncle’s phone number.”
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