It might be tough for Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann to play at Barcelona next season. SPORT have learned from a dressing room source that the French striker is ‘persona non grata’ among the club’s current players, who would not welcome him in if the club decided to sign him. The dressing room do not want him at the club, making it hard for Barcelona to sign him.
The players made that clear to president Josep Maria Bartomeu. They have not take a stance like this before in other transfers but Griezmann is different. They do not want him.
In the first place there’s a lack of feeling, or even animosity, between the dressing room and Griezmann - stemming from his documentary last summer.
It was taken badly at Barca after so many players opened their arms to welcome him but he snubbed them publicly.
That is seen as a lack of respect towards them and Barca as an institution. The group thinks a player acting in that way, not just to Barca but to his own club Atletico too, is not worthy of wearing the shirt.
Many players felt betrayed, it was an unpardonable affront. A gesture which will not be forgotten.
Lionel Messi has also said, contrary to reports, that he has never called the Frenchman.
A SPORT poll shows the fans aren’t keen either, with 67% of 50,000 voters against his acquisition.
The whistles he received at Camp Nou on April 6 when Atletico visited shows it.
Unlike last summer, no Barca players have spoken up in his favour. Griezmann has found only silence.
There is also another issue - he is not the player the team need at this moment. The dressing room are happy with De Jong and maybe De Ligt arriving, but Griezmann is not seen as a priority.
There is also the subliminal message sent out by Griezmann’s potential arrival. The group think that it would be a bad lesson for younger players, to sign someone who played cat and mouse with Barca. They think he is fickle.
The club’s response to the players will be interesting. The first to give his opinion will be Ernesto Valverde, ahead of the clash with Eibar on Sunday. The second may be Bartomeu, who travels to Budapest to watch the women’s Champions League final.