Antoine Griezmann: A ruinous 'Decision' for Barca

Antoine Griezmann: A ruinous 'Decision' for Barca

| sport

The on-loan French forward is poised to go back permanently to Atletico Madrid

Barcelona are putting an end to Antoine Griezmann’s time at the club. With the basis of a deal agreed with Atletico Madrid, the soap opera of the ‘little prince’ is coming to a close. It’s the third most expensive signing in the history of Barcelona, and it will end like that of the most expensive - Philippe Coutinho - with the player leaving by the back door with just one Copa del Rey in his trophy cabinet. 

What starts badly, ends badly. Griezmann’s arrival could not have been more turbulent. In the summer of 2018, when Barcelona were poised to sign him, he decided to say ‘no’, and did so via the documentary La Decision, instead of to the club’s face. “I’ve decided to stay,” said Griezmann, words which were greeted with anger in Barcelona, especially by some heavyweights.

They didn’t understand, a year later, why Josep Maria Bartomeu was shelling out 120m on a player who had snubbed them. It got worse when they had to pay Atletico another 15m to end a legal action by the Rojiblancos, who were trying to prove that the deal with Barcelona and the player had been agreed after his release clause rose to 200m. Laporta’s forensics proved this extra payment.

Griezmann earned 17-18m euros a season plus 8m in variables, meaning his cost was 46.5m euros in wages. So across everything, Griezmann’s total cost was 177.5m euros. The Frenchman never got close to justifying this cost. 

His role was not clear in the team and he did not adapt to Barcelona’s DNA. Playing well would have made these problems go away, but Griezmann only managed 35 goals in 102 games, with 17 assists. Last summer, when Messi left and Griezmann had a chance of becoming key, Barcelona’s economic woes saw them move him back to Atletico. And now he might make that permanent.

Topics with the letter